First it was Football Queensland’s headquarters at Meakin Park to benefit through a $500,000 grant under the State Government’s new Female Facilities Program.
Now it has been confirmed that an additional $1.2 million in grants have been approved by the government for upgrading of facilities from Cairns in the north to Logan City in the south as the number of girls and women playing the game continues to grow significantly.
In what is a massive show of confidence – and a most welcome boost in funding – for the code in Queensland, a total of $1,708 million will go the way of football.
This figure represents about 11 per cent of total State Government grants under the facilities improvement plan – which covers a number of sports.
Four football organisations kicked goals in the distribution of grants, FNQ Football (Cairns), Capricorn Coast Football Club based at Yeppoon, Football Gympie and FQPL/NPLW club Logan Lightning.
The big winner was Football FNQ whose grant of $500,000 matched that recently handed over to Football Queensland for improvements at their Meakin Park headquarters.
Logan Lightning received $464,074, Capricorn Coast received $199,925 and Football Gympie $44,950.
Kerry Gray, president of Capricorn said the funding will allow her club to construct something that was previously out of reach.
“No way could you fundraise $200,000 on your own,” she said.
The money will be used to establish four change rooms at ApexPark, another for referees, a first-aid room, a parents/family room and disabled toilets.
Logan, based in the mushrooming growth corridor south of Brisbane central, said the construction of extra facilities at Cornubia Park will give the complex four change rooms and extra showering blocks.
This will allow the Lightning to have men’s and women’s matches on the same afternoon or night whereas in the past they could not be played because of the lack of suitable rooms.
“This will make it more user-friendly for females,” president Mick Kelly said. “I believe a third of our members are now females.
“All this will come on top of an overall improvement of general facilities.”
The half a million granted to FNQ Football will come as a major relief in easing match-day congestion at the tropical city’s headquarters of Endeavour Park.
FNQ Football general manager Matt Kelso had compelling numbers for why his organisation was so desperate for funding.
“This will allow stage one of a redevelopment of player and spectator facilities at Endeavour Park,” Mr Kelso said.
“At the moment everyone has to share and we get the best part of 2,000 kids there each Saturday and we have to cater for probably 3,000-plus players overall.”
This issue of modern facilities is a focus for Football Queensland, evidenced by the recent appointment of Phil Reeves and David O’Leary to oversee the release of the Statewide Facilities Strategic Plan.
FQ Chief Executive Officer Richard Griffiths said it is a deliberate push aimed at making football the leader in women’s sport.
“To be a leader in women’s sport we must support the growth in participation numbers of female footballers and ensure all footballers have the ability to reach their potential,” Mr Griffiths said.
The State Government fielded a total of 183 applications for funding assistance by officials from a wide range of sports under the Female Facilities Program.
Of this number, 45 applications were approved totalling $15.186 million.
Words: Terry Wilson