Celebrating Volunteers at Inverloch Pickleball

National Volunteer Week is the perfect time to recognise the incredible efforts of volunteers who have helped bring Pickleball to Inverloch, turning it into a thriving sport in our community. The collaboration between GippSport and Inverloch Community House has been instrumental in the success of this initiative, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication and passion of our volunteers.

The Beginning of Inverloch Pickleball

The journey began in early 2023 when Inverloch Community House approached GippSport with the idea of introducing Pickleball to Inverloch. Recognizing the potential of this inclusive sport, GippSport teamed up with Inverloch Community House to offer free “come n try” days. With support from Pickleball Victoria, these events were a huge success, attracting over 75 participants. The overwhelming response led to an additional day to accommodate the high demand.

Growing Stronger Together

With funding from Bass Coast Shire, Inverloch Community House was able to purchase the necessary equipment to establish a permanent Pickleball program. The program now runs three days a week, catering to various age groups, abilities, and social preferences. This flexibility has been key to its popularity, ensuring there is a suitable time for everyone to play.

The partnership between GippSport and Inverloch Community House is unique. GippSport provided the sport industry expertise, while Inverloch Community House offered a strong membership base and volunteer support. This collaboration has created a vibrant Pickleball community, particularly among older adults, who make up the majority of Inverloch Community House members.

The Power of Volunteers

Volunteers have been the backbone of Inverloch Pickleball. They were crucial in the initial stages, learning from Pickleball Victoria and ensuring the first sessions were safe, professional, and inclusive. This training has allowed Inverloch Community House volunteers and GippSport staff to continue offering high-quality Pickleball experiences.

The dedication of volunteers like Louise, who has become a level 1 coach, has been instrumental in sustaining the program. Her expertise helps the group grow and stay sustainable, providing invaluable knowledge to new participants. Alongside Louise, Anne Marie has been another cornerstone of the program. Her tireless efforts in program management and her unwavering commitment have significantly contributed to the smooth operation and success of Inverloch Pickleball.

Impact and Achievements

In the past year, Inverloch Pickleball has seen around 300 participants, a remarkable number for a small rural town. The program’s inclusivity attracts a diverse group of players, from retirees in the Tuesday morning sessions to working adults, teenagers, and families during Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons.

The impact of Pickleball in Inverloch extends beyond the court. Social groups have formed, with participants enjoying coffee or lunch together after their sessions, fostering a sense of community and connection.

In recognition of their efforts, Inverloch Pickleball has been named a finalist for the VicHealth Sport and Active Recreation Initiative of the Year at the 2023 Victorian Sport Awards. This nomination celebrates the achievements of volunteers and participants alike, highlighting the program’s positive impact on the community.

Looking Ahead

As Inverloch Pickleball continues to grow, new initiatives are being explored, such as setting up an Inverloch Pickleball Facebook page and investigating online apps to support further growth. The future looks bright, thanks to the unwavering support and enthusiasm of our volunteers.

During this National Volunteer Week, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to all the volunteers who have made Inverloch Pickleball a success. Your hard work, dedication, and passion are the driving forces behind our thriving Pickleball community. Thank you for making a difference!

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GippSport acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we live and work, The Bunurong Peoples, Gunaikurnai Peoples and other traditional owner groups of the Gippsland/East Gippsland Region.  We recognise their ongoing connection to the land, waters and community, and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging and the ongoing living culture of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people.

GippSport is committed to making a positive contribution to the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and working in solidarity towards reconciliation.

GippSport – Gippsland Sports Assembly Inc.
PO Box 741, Traralgon, VIC, Australia 3844
Traralgon Sports Stadium, Catterick Cres, Traralgon