Mount Barker FC facility recognised with AFL award

By Chloe Holliday

Mt Barker Football Club’s $540,000 female friendly facilities have been recognised with a major AFL award for improving gender equality and benefiting the local community.

The project to support the significant growth in female football at Mt Barker was the South Australian winner of the 2019 AFL Ken Gannon Community Facility Award.

Whilst female football experienced tremendous growth over the past four years, the 40-year-old clubrooms with just a single toilet, open showers and a communal change room had remained unchanged.

However, with the support of the AFL and the State Government funding, the club was able to undertake the much-needed project and provide females with suitable facilities.

Working with key female stakeholders throughout the design process, the club developed a purpose-built stand-alone change room facility, inclusive of all genders.

“It hasn’t just benefited women and girls playing footy but have had an unexpected positive impact on all our club members and the wider community,” said Scott Filmer, President of Mount Barker Football Club.

“We have seen on field female participation increase, as well as greater family participation, increased spectator attendance and community involvement.”

The annual AFL Ken Gannon awards annually recognise best practise in community football facility development across Australia.

Mt Barker is the first club in the Adelaide Hills region to feature a unisex change amenity, setting the standard for future facilities to support female participation.

“This project is a remarkable example of best practise that aligns very strongly to our sport’s aim of providing well positioned, welcoming, fit-for-purpose football facilities that support our growing game,” said Shayne Ward, AFL National Venues and Community Facilities Manager.

 

“We have seen on field female participation increase, as well as greater family participation, increased spectator attendance and community involvement.”

Scott Filmer, Mount Barker FC President

The new-look club features custom-built female-friendly change rooms, two new umpire rooms and a flexible communal area with a partition, allowing it to host both male and female teams at the same time.

It also includes upgraded functional facilities and coaching resources.

Memorabilia, club philosophies and murals are on full display within the new facilities, with the “Barkeroos” preserving the rich history of the club while welcoming their exciting future in the community.

The lighter and brighter facilities have not only changed the space but also reinvigorated the culture around the club.

Mount Barker Football Club hopes to use this new facility to encourage other clubs to introduce new female programs.

The interior of Mt Barker FC’s new facility, featuring memorabilia displays.