New grant a boost to project

Published on 20 May 2014

When a Victorian government minister turns up at footy training, you can’t help get the feeling there’s some good news coming.

That’s how it was last night, when Minister for Sport and Recreation Damian Drum arrived at Janiember Reserve in Serpentine while players from the Bears Lagoon Serpentine Football Club were being put through their paces.

Mr Drum was there to bring news of a $100,000 investment in facility improvements at the reserve, funded under the government’s Country Football Netball Program.

Mr Drum said the money would go towards new football and netball change rooms, to “enable Bears Lagoon-Serpentine to cater for growing numbers of participants”.

Loddon Shire Council is contributing $415,000 to sit alongside $50,000 from the football and netball clubs and the recreation reserve committee of management and $20,000 from the Victorian Floods Appeal.

“This is just one of 12 projects sharing in funding of $957,000 under the latest round of the Country Football Netball Program,” Mr Drum said.

The brief ceremony at the ground was hosted by Cr Cheryl McKinnon, with a response on behalf of the recreation reserve committee by Simon Tuohey.

Also present were Council’s Manager Community Planning, Tim Jenkyn, Paul Hamilton (from AFL Central Victoria), Jan Mannes and Pam Ferrari (Netball Victoria), Don Peterson (Regional Development Victoria), members of the reserve committee, local residents and Bears Lagoon Serpentine footballers and netballers.

Mr Jenkyn said the grant had provided other benefits apart from the money itself.

“Being involved in a program such as this helps both with leveraging other funding from elsewhere and in feeding in some very good advice from bodies such as the AFL and Netball Victoria,” Mr Jenkyn said.

“The other good thing is that while Serpentine is a quiet farming area during the week, the weekend sees a host of young people arriving from outside the town to play sport.

“Mr Drum’s announcement has meant a massive boost to our plans to see this project move ahead.

“New football/netball change rooms are just one part of the bigger picture of redevelopment plans for the reserve, but it’s a really important part from the recreation side of things and it’s definitely needed.”

Mr Tuohey said the government grant would be “a marvellous help” in seeing the upgrade get under way.

“It’s certainly going to help things along,” he said.

“The rebuilding of the change rooms is badly needed, with 300-400 competitors coming to Serpentine every weekend of the season for the various grades of football and netball.

“Add in the parents, supporters, umpires and trainers – plus the other community partnerships involved – and it illustrates the amount of use the reserve gets.

“It’s well deserved news for Serpentine.”

CAPTION FOR SUPPLIED PICTURE: Minister for Sport and Recreation Damian Drum (centre) and (on his right) Liberal candidate for Bendigo East Greg Bickley join in the celebrations over the government funding announcement this week.

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