There were over 50 representatives from both Gladesville-Hornsby Football Association (GHFA) and Hills Football Association (HFA) board of directors, football clubs, Parramatta City Council, City of Ryde Council, Hornsby Shire Council, Hills Shire Council Staff, City of Ryde Councillors and the Member for Ryde, Victor Dominello attended the Clubs Football Facilities Forum on Monday, 28 May 2018 held at Castle Hill RSL Club.
The Clubs Football Facilities Forum is an adjunct from the NSW Facilities Forum that Football NSW held in previous years at Valentine Sports Park. As part of Football NSW’s strategic direction to service the football community, this forum was a great opportunity to bring facilities information and valuable tips on government relations and funding opportunities to the grassroots community.
Football within GHFA and HFA is strong with over 24,000 combined players participating and is continuing to grow. Within the North-West growth corridor of Sydney there has already been a 24% increase in dwellings in some areas and the number of residents by 2040 will see a population increase of 150,000. It is therefore important to upgrade and develop existing fields whilst planning for future open spaces is imperative to support the needs of the game.
Football facilities is one of the biggest issues confronting grassroots club across NSW and with football being the number one participated sport, demand is exceeding the current number of facilities.
Planning, engaging and collaborating were the key themes presented throughout the forum. Lori Modde from the Hills Shire Council presented on how to engage with council staff and stressed “the need to plan as council put facilities projects forward four years in advance”.
The themed continued into the evening with the City of Ryde Council, Mayor Jerome Laxale presenting on how to engage with councillors and he provided some key tips from inviting councillors to attend club football events, finding a football champion in council and to work with council staff closely regarding facilities projects.
The Facilities and Advocacy Unit also presented on the need to strategically plan ahead. Jas Virdee, Manager – Infrastructure, Planning and Strategy mentioned the benefits of having a club document that showcases the objectives, need, cost/quotes and designs of a facilities project. The Unit also presented on funding opportunities that clubs should be keeping an eye out for. Daniel Ristic, Manager – Government Relations, Funding and Infrastructure said, “the importance of meeting the funding objectives is the one of the most critical components in a grant application and will go a long way in helping clubs receive funding”.
The final presentation on the night was conducted by the Member for Ryde, Victor Dominello on how to engage with a State MP. Mr Dominello said “clubs should be looking for long term investment and not short-term goals”.
Minister Dominello continued “Describing how clubs are aligning with local and state government strategic plans for example community strategic plans and the NSW Premier’s Priority – Tackling Childhood Obesity will help to strengthen funding applications