Regular sport participation and physical activity is vital for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

In Victoria, female participation rates in sport and active recreation remain lower than males, particularly in community sport and recreation club settings. The facilities at clubs play a key factor in encouraging female involvement.

At Newborough Yallourn United Soccer Club (NYUSC), outdated facilities have been holding back the clubs’ ability to attract & retain more participants at their club – particularly women & girls.  The club already has a senior & junior women’s team, but there is a real opportunity to provide more participation opportunities for their community.  So what was the next step for the club?

In partnership with Latrobe City & GippSport, NYUSC have been working to address the barriers to female participation in their club.  Combining cultural change with facility development, NYUSC is working to provide a strong foundation for women & girls’ participation.

burrage-reserveFig1: Burrage Reserve master plan, home of NYUSC

The partnership has worked together to put together an infrastructure design that consists of a range of factors that will make the club more female friendly and more family orientated.  These include:

  • Buildings and surrounding areas that offer supporting resources, including:
    • unisex change facilities that cater for the needs of both males and females
    • inviting community spaces
    • prioritisation of safety (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design – CEPTED)
    • clean and easily accessible facilities
    • adequate lighting in and around the facility
    • family friendly attributes including baby change amenities.

GippSport has been supporting NYUSC through the development of inclusive policies and practices that can be easily implemented within the club as well as supporting the club through a sustainable cultural change process to support increased participation rates.  Work to date includes the delivery of GippSport’s 50/50 clubs Gender Equity awareness workshop, an update of the NYUSC constitution & by-laws, as well as the development of a club development plan that provides some clear actions that can be taken to increase the participation & involvement of women and girls in the areas of:

  • Governance & leadership;
  • Welfare & safety;
  • Workforce development (Coaching, officials & volunteer roles);
  • Participation pathways;
  • Marketing & member recruitment; and,
  • Facility development.

Dan presenting GippSport's 50/50 clubs workshop to NYUSCFig 2: GippSport staff member Dan Poynton, delivering the 50/50 clubs workshop to NYUSC

Whilst there is a long way still to go on the journey for NYUSC, they will find out midway through 2017 if Latrobe City’s application to the SRV Female Friendly Facilities fund is successful, all partners in the project are confident that work undertaken will provide significant community benefit to the Moe, Newborough & Yallourn areas.

If clubs are interested in working with GippSport to increase participation, upgrade facilities and develop a closer working relationship with your local Government, please contact us.