Seven sporting clubs across the Wyong electorate have benefited from a share in $42,070 as part of the NSW Government’s Local Sport Grant Program.
The $4.6M program was designed to increase access to sport and recreational activities and to improve ongoing participation opportunities.
From water polo to netball, this year’s grants have gone to a myriad of local clubs and groups, all of which have been doing it tough in the face of the coronavirus.
Wyong MP, David Harris, was out and about across his electorate delivering the funds on May 24.
He said getting to deliver funding to worthy community members and organisations was one the best parts of his job.
“We are really happy to be spreading the good news to our successful applicants.
“Many of these smaller organisations rely on these grants to improve facilities and training.
“Because of the COVID-19 restrictions many of these sporting groups are struggling, and these grants provide a boost for when they are hopefully back and operational.
“As the local member I am always here to support our sporting organisations,” Harris said.
The big winners for Wyong under the 2019/20 program are Central Coast Hockey Association Inc. (CCHA) which received $15,000 for facility upgrades at Central Coast Hockey Park, and Wyong Lakes Magpies AFL Club, which received $14,600 for new equipment and technology.
The CCHA’s grant will be put towards the upgrade of the hockey park’s sand-based field to a water-based field.
It comes as the CCHA is in the throes of a major $1.4M upgrade that will bring the hockey park’s two fields up to Olympic standards.
The first field, a synthetic all weather surface, has already been completed, with the second expected to be ready for the season reboot in July.
CCHA President, Brett Johnson, said the grant would assist the CCHA in covering some of the additional costs that have emerged since works began.
“If there is a silver lining to this pandemic, it’s that we’ve been able to bring all of these projects forward, some by a few years, and in a few months’ time we’ll have an Olympic class facility.
“We have begun negotiations with Hockey NSW and Hockey Australia to bring some state and national championships to the Coast.
“A big thank you to the State and Federal Government for all the funding support,” Johnson said.
For the Magpies, this grant could not have come at a better time.
It’s been a long road to recovery for the Pies after their original clubhouse at Tacoma’s Don Small Oval was destroyed in a suspicious fire in 2013.
Work is now finally underway on a new clubhouse and additional amenities at the site, but since the fire, the Pies have also been dealing with semi-regular break ins, theft and other acts of vandalism at their canteen and temporary facility.
With a good portion of their grant being put towards a new security system, the timing could not have been more perfect, with the Pies able to integrate the installation into the clubhouse build.
The remainder of the funds will be spent on a new PA system and new jerseys for the women’s team.
Senior Women’s Coach, Josh Lawler, said the grant had been uplifting at a turbulent time for the Pies.
“With everything going on with coronavirus, any good news is welcome in these strange times, and it’s been very uplifting for members to see this funding come through,” Lawler said.
“We’ve been broken into at least once every year since the clubhouse burnt down, so this funding will go a long way.
“We’re a strong club but a small one, and any theft or break in is just devastating, so this is great news for us,” he added.
Lawler also extended his thanks to David Harris and the State Government for approving their grant.
“This is a great initiative and it will help keep the Pies going strong,” Lawler said.
Other recipients were: Norah Head Women in Waves – $4,800 to purchase a trailer to transport surfboards; Soldiers Beach Surf Life Saving Club – $3,670 replace security locks; Toukley Netball Club – $1,000 purchase a marquee for game and gala days; The Entrance Water Polo Club – $2,000 player and official training camps funding; and, Kanwal Warnervale Rovers FC – $1,000 new uniforms and training balls.
Interviews, May 26
David Harris MP
Brett Johnson, Central Coast Hockey Association Inc.
Simon Wood, Wyong Lakes Magpies AFL Club
Reporter: Dilon Luke