The Western Australian Government female sporting facilities fund has ballooned to $3 million on the back of significant interest from grassroots clubs in its first year of operation.
The State Government has allocated funding to nine community sports projects to provide unisex or women’s change rooms and facilities.
The $250,000 initiative was introduced in August 2018, with the goal of retrofitting unisex and female-appropriate change rooms to support increases in women’s participation.
However, demand has been so great that more than one-third of the latest round of the Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund will be spent on change room projects which support women’s sport.
“We introduced this facilities fund to begin correcting the disadvantage women have faced when playing community sport,” Sport and Recreation Minister, Mick Murray said.
“For too long, women and girls were turned off sport by having to use men’s change rooms, and in some cases not having access to any change rooms at all.
“The level of interest in the program from clubs around the State says it all, and we are committed to continuing to level the playing field for women and girls who want to pull the boots on.”
Melville City Hockey Club is one association set to benefit, with its ageing clubrooms to be upgraded as part of the initiative, giving the club’s female hockey and cricket players appropriate change room facilities for the first time.
Its existing clubrooms will be redeveloped into four unisex change rooms, as part of a project carried out in conjunction with the City of Melville and the hockey club.
The existing clubrooms do not cater for women, forcing female players to use temporary demountable change rooms, with a recent survey identifying concerns about there being no shower screens and only one toilet for up to 16 women’s players.
“This grant means so much to us as we will now be able to change teams over between events,” Melville City Hockey Club president, Gary Bowater said.
“The new change rooms will allow us to host male and female matches at the same time without delays.”
“The new facilities, which will also benefit our male players, will allow us to have local and international events with modern facilities to cater for our numbers and the comfort of members and visitors alike.”
The Melville City Hockey Club is one of WA’s biggest hockey clubs and shares its grounds with the local KLCC cricket club, with a combined membership of 1,300.