Background to Active Club Grants
VicHealth’s Active Club Grants (ACG) provide up to $3,000 or $10,000 to community sport clubs. The grants focus on assisting clubs to offer community members a new way to get more active through sport. The aim is to increase participation in sport and promote an active lifestyle for Victorians.
Hundreds of clubs are already doing fantastic things with their Active Club Grants, such as the Fairfield Cricket Club and their senior women’s cricket team.
Introducing the Fairfield Cricket Club – An ACG Success Story
When their local cricket association launched a women’s competition, Fairfield Cricket Club decided to start a team of their own. They had only fielded two men’s teams in the past, but team founder Janine Hyndes was encouraged by the enthusiasm of local members. Joined by eager participants from the local Cricket Victoria office, the women trained in a skills program to learn the fundamentals of cricket before starting the formal team.
With all the pieces in place, the Fairfield Cricket Club established their first ever senior women’s team.
The Impact of the Active Club Grant
As a small club, Fairfield Cricket Club faced some challenges in the early days of their women’s team. As club treasurer Margaret Watt explained, a lack of resources was a barrier to participation.
“Initially, the women were getting hand-me-down stuff from the men’s team, like a charitable organisation,” Margaret said.
When Margaret discovered VicHealth’s Active Club Grants, she saw an opportunity to cement the future of Fairfield’s women’s team.
“We used the Active Club Grant to buy some new kit bags and uniforms. It was great to be able to provide a new bag instead of one that had been in the storeroom and was falling apart,” she said.
Best of all, the club found the Active Club Grant application process easy, and it has kick-started positive change at the club.
In addition to creating a welcoming environment that fosters inclusion, the new uniforms cemented the team’s identity and nurtured confidence and participation within the team.
“I remember when my girls first started playing basketball. Putting on the uniform made them think, I can jump higher, I can run faster, or I can throw the ball further. It was a bit like that with these cricket uniforms.”
The Fairfield Cricket Club also used their grant to create a uniform library. This closet of uniform sizes allows participants to get involved on a trial basis, without having to make an initial investment.
Bringing New Life to Fairfield
The Fairfield Cricket Club has always been a place for families like the Watts. Current club Secretary Mick Watt has been involved at the club for more than 45 years, while his wife, Margaret, has been treasurer for much of this time. Although they never had a junior team, daughters Simone and Nicole Watt were always at the club on weekends.
With the emergence of the women’s side, new opportunities opened for everyone, including the chance for Nicole and Simone to finally play.
“When you take a catch, it’s one of the greatest feelings ever,” Simone said. “This isn’t something that I would get just sitting at home watching television and sleeping, so it’s good for your mental health to get out there and be social.”
For team founder Janine Hyndes, playing at Fairfield gave her the fitness and confidence to do things she’d never done before; like filling in for the men’s league. Janine’s participation wasn’t lost on her family either.
“My daughter did junior cricket last year, and seeing her Mum out there participating, doing something, has been really positive for her and for me.”
Following the women’s team’s success in getting more people active, Fairfield added an extra men’s side, and they look set for continuous growth. Even Nicole and Simone’s father, Mick, has returned to the field.
“Last season, he started training again. And then some of the retired players who have known Simone and myself growing up, they've come down to support the girls. It's given the club a lot of life”, Nicole said.
For Margaret Watt, it’s like one big family again at the Fairfield Cricket Club.
“We ended up having our family dinner at the cricket club after cricket training. We would sit down after the men and women had finished training, which has been a really nice way to socialise with everyone down there.”
Nicole Watt perhaps sums up the impact of the Fairfield women’s team best.
“It doesn't matter whether you have sons or daughters anymore because everyone is able to get involved.”
Get Your Club Involved with the Active Club Grants
Whether you’re starting programs for people with a disability, building a junior team, or simply focusing on bringing more fun to sport, your club could be eligible for an Active Club Grant.
VicHealth is simply looking for good ideas to get more people active, and applying for a grant is easy. Applications are open in February and July each year. Learn more or apply online to find out how your club can benefit from an Active Club Grant.