Female sports participation is on the rise in Frankston City thanks to significant investment in sporting facilities by Council and the State and Federal Governments.
Pavilions across Frankston City are being significantly upgraded or replaced, in a major spend that is encouraging female membership in local clubs, reducing travel times for district games and introducing the potential for home games in state competitions.
Female participation is strongest where new facilities have been built incorporating female-friendly change rooms, toilets, amenities and spaces.
North-West Ward Cr Sue Baker said she expects the trend to continue as more pavilions and grounds come on line.
The total percentage of girls playing in junior football clubs across the Frankston district is around 21 per cent, which is slightly higher than the percentages for Cardinia, Casey, Greater Dandenong, Kingston and the Mornington Peninsula.
Cr Baker said: “We are coming back to sport in our communities following seasons disrupted by the pandemic, so it is early days, but when you look at how individual clubs are doing, I believe Council’s building program is beginning to get results.
“For example, where Council did a total rebuild of the Ballam Park East Pavilion just on three years ago, we have one of our strongest participation rates, with girls representing 44 per cent of players at the Karingal Bulls Junior Football Club.
“Where we completed the Overport Park Pavilion last year, the Frankston Dolphins Junior Football Club is already showing a fairly high membership of girls at around 29 per cent.
“And with construction about to begin on the Pat Rollo Reserve pavilion, I’m looking forward to seeing how the Pines Junior Football Club – which is fielding inquiries for under 12 and under 14 girl’s teams – will grow over the next few years,” Cr Baker said.
Another new pavilion in Ballam Park that will be in use for the first time this season has seen the Peninsula Strikers Junior Football Club – the only junior soccer club serving the central Frankston area – lift its number of Under-8 mixed teams from one to three.
Peninsula Strikers Junior Football Club player Brooke, 15, is passionate about soccer and has been playing with other girls since she was in the MiniRoos Under-9s.
Brooke said she is rapt with the new Ballam Park South Pavilion.
“It’s more welcoming and it looks nicer and you’re happier to be there and it’s set up well. So it’s like your space to be when you go to play,” Brooke said.
Pavilions and grounds in Frankston City replaced or upgraded, have modern, compliant, accessible amenities and social spaces included in every design to support diverse participation.
With State and Federal Government funding contributions, projects are also underway to elevate facilities for games in Victorian and national leagues that will benefit female players.
The season-opening night game of the Victorian Football League was held at Frankston’s SkyBus Stadium where broadcast standard lights have been installed funded by Council and the State and Federal Governments. The lights raise the potential for AFL women’s league games to be broadcast from Frankston as well.
The $9.147 million RF Miles Reserve redevelopment not only provides a new pavilion and courts for use by the Seaford Football Netball Club and the Seaford Cricket Club, but also a larger oval that meets AFL standards.
A new $34.9 million stadium planned for Jubilee Park will provide a home base for the Peninsula Waves state-league netball teams, whose home games are currently held in Somerville.
The new stadium will feature six multi-purpose indoor courts (to complement outdoor courts with competition lighting), enabling it to host major regional netball and basketball tournaments.
North East Ward Cr Suzette Tayler said Frankston City Council aims to support all community members in pursuing healthy activities and catering for the increasing demand for female-friendly amenities in sporting pavilions is an important part of that.
Cr Tayler said: “It’s not just about having the right toilets. This is about creating spaces where people feel safe to get changed, giving parents a welcoming place to stay and chat rather than drop and run, and helping families and communities to stay connected through a clubhouse that is the hub of their neighbourhood.
“There’s been a lot of thinking gone into the planning stages – even down to including a creche to support more people to play netball at the vast Jubilee Park stadium, and lifts where there are two storeys,” Cr Tayler said.
Council is also investigating other ways to help sporting clubs be more inclusive.
Workshops in June are expected to look at barriers within clubs that might discourage participation and discuss ways to be more inclusive through creating welcoming environments for the whole community.
The first workshop will include participants who identify as female who play sport or want to play sport, parents and volunteers, while the second will support committees to develop strategies for inclusivity throughout their clubs.
New pavilion works with modern, compliant and accessible amenities include:
- RF Miles Reserve Pavilion (construction well under way with combined Council, State and Federal Government funding of more than $9 million).
- Pat Rollo Reserve Pavilion (construction is imminent on this jointly funded Council and State Government $2.8 million project).
- Lloyd Park Reserve Pavilion (Federal Government funding of $3 million and Frankston City Council funding of $3.5 million; construction is expected to begin this year).
For further updates on current projects, please visit: https://www.frankston.vic.gov.au/Planning_and_Building/Major_Projects/More_current_projects