Deakin Reserve secures $500,000 funding for second netball court

By Alex Mitchell

Deakin Reserve is set for another netball court after securing a $500,000 grant from the Victorian Government.

A second court is expected to be built in the north-east corner of the reserve behind Mercy Stadium in a huge boost for the sport in Shepparton, with new lighting, shelter, an all-abilities accessible toilet and a ticket box all part of the upgrade.

The funding is part of the government's 2020-21 Local Sports Infrastructure Fund — Female Friendly Facilities program, and Member for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp said it showed accessibility and inclusivity were being promoted through sport.

“Congratulations to everyone involved — this boost will go a long way to supporting the growing number of people across Shepparton keen to get involved in local sport and recreation,” he said.

“It’s a great example of how the Victorian Government is making sports and recreation more accessible, welcoming and inclusive for all Victorians.

“Sporting clubs are the heart and soul of our rural and regional communities. With more and more women and girls signing up to play sports, we are getting on with upgrading infrastructure so clubs can keep up with soaring demand, while also making them accessible and more inclusive for everyone.”

Shepparton president Will Phillips said the upgrade was something that had been on the cards for a while, as Deakin Reserve's co-tenants seek to maintain its status as the league's premier ground.

“We've been speaking about this with council for many years, the Deakin Reserve user group has been pushing for that second court for many years,” Phillips said.

“We certainly welcome the funding and we're really happy, it's certainly appreciated.

“It's the premier facility for football and netball in Shepparton, the Goulburn Valley League grand finals are played there and we'd like to be able to make these upgrades on behalf of the GVL really. We're very happy the state government has come to the party and now we'll work through it with council.”