Regional

Major funding boost for rebuild of KI’s Western Districts Sports Club

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By SANFL Media

SANFL has welcomed a major funding announcement for Kangaroos Island’s Western Districts Sports Club, allowing the club to push ahead with the major rebuild of its community facility following the devastating bushfires in 2019/2020.

The AFL Community Relief Fund will contribute more than $1.14 million towards the rebuild of a new pavilion for the club and wider community, including meeting rooms, commercial kitchen, social spaces, and spectator amenities.

This latest funding injection for the new Western Districts clubrooms is further to the $1 million committed in 2020 through a partnership between the AFL/SANFL, Cricket Australia/SACA and the State Government for a new Ausco modular changeroom facility, which will now form part of this new large-scale project.

SANFL Head of Community Football Lisa Faraci said SANFL was pleased to be part of the partnership to assist the western region of Kangaroo Island in its recovery from, not only the bushfires which ravaged the region in late 2019 and January 2020, but also the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“SANFL has worked closely with the Western Districts Football Club throughout the grant application process and we’re delighted to see that this much-needed facilities project will happen,” Ms Faraci said.

“Sport is the lifeblood of regional communities and this facility will be really important in the recovery phase for Kangaroo Islanders.”

AFL General Manager Operations David Stevenson said it was pleasing to continue to support local communities who are still recovering from the impacts of the bushfires.

“The Western Districts Sports Club’s existing pavilion was decimated during the summer bushfires, and we are proud to provide additional support through the AFL Community Relief Fund to help finance the delivery of this project and rebuild their club,” Mr Stevenson said.

“Whilst the world continues to navigate the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the AFL industry’s ongoing commitment to supporting local communities still recovering from the devastating bushfires has never been stronger, with many of these communities needing our support more than ever before.

“Football clubs are the heartbeat of local communities across Australia, so we look forward to seeing this project come to life and once again, become an important community hub for Western Districts and the wider Kangaroo Island community for many years to come.”

Western Districts Football Club President Tony Nolan said the club and wider community were thrilled to have the funding to rebuild its facilities.

“Words almost can’t explain what an amazing gesture this is by the AFL. This funding means everything to us,” Mr Nolan said.

“Our community has been through such enormous loss of not just our physical possessions, but our place of connection.

“We’re known as the ‘club in the scrub’ because we don’t have a local town nearby. Our clubroom is our town, and we were lost without it.

“One of the great things about community clubs is the people, so to have the opportunity to bring people back and rebuild our bricks and mortar through the support of the AFL is fantastic.”

“This announcement has made a lot of people emotional and given us all happiness. We are so privileged and proud to be part of this football family.”

Construction at Western Districts will commence later this year and is estimated to be completed in 2022.