District leagues to receive a big funding boost for COVID-19 survival

By Liam Nash

A plethora of district sporting leagues are set to receive a shot in the arm thanks to the Victorian Government.

More than $58,000 will be awarded as a part of a COVID-19 Short-term Survival Package, with an aim to galvanise regional sport throughout the state.

Shepparton Junior Soccer League, Shepparton Netball Association, Shepparton District Junior Football League and Kyabram District Football League will have access to $7500 each.

Meanwhile, the Goulburn Valley Football Umpires Association and Goulburn Campaspe Junior Football League will be bolstered by grants of $10,000 and $3000 respectively.

Also in the running to gain $10,000, Picola District Football Netball League operations manager Shane Railton was buoyant at the news for the sustainability of the competition.

“It will go into the general meeting of costs in the league, there will be no specific area where the funding will be designated — that was part of the requirement,” Railton said.

With the news of its $5625 allocation, Yarrawonga-Mulwala Basketball Association representative Amanda Wheaton noted the funding would provide a vital leg-up over the next few weeks.

“It will be extremely helpful for us, we are in the process of rolling out our junior competition in the next couple of weeks, so it will go towards purchasing supplies to get us COVID-19 ready,” she said.

“Anything to go towards the financial outlay incurred by the COVID-19 situation, and provide for the kids who are dying to get back out on the court.”

So far, 200 leagues have benefited from the survival package, tapping into more than $1.4 million to help stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

Member for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp lauded the grant as a major factor in keeping sporting leagues afloat.

“These organisations are an integral part of our local community. The Community Sport Sector COVID-19 Survival Package is helping the competition and clubs keep their eyes towards a return to play.

“Ensuring community sport and active recreation organisations survive this crisis and come back better than ever is critical to our economic and social recovery, and to our community’s physical and mental wellbeing.

“From supporting our local clubs and sporting associations, to investing in shovel-ready infrastructure projects — I am proud to be part of the Andrews Government that recognises the importance sport and recreation plays in building resilient and healthy communities.”