The prospect of further changes and improvement to football facilities at Proctor Park and Police Paddock in Bathurst in coming years could mean a significant opportunity for the sport – if the right energy exists in the community.
As the sport slowly comes to terms with the recent loss of the president of the Bathurst District Football Association, the late Kelvin Moore, those involved with football need to think about what they can offer the sport into the future.
A new year is rapidly approaching and while some people are having a well-earned rest, it is no secret that the city’s most popular sport will confront changes and challenges in many areas going into the 2017 season.
I write this article as an observer mindful of the opportunities for the football family in Bathurst – from the students to players to coaches to clubs and the association.
Council’s interest in the sport is only one part of this story.
Former Liverpool FC star and proud Australian Craig Johnston has developed a pioneering sports development program called Supa Skills where players’ skills are refined into a training regime.
This skill development program could be a valuable point of difference for football in Bathurst.
The Bathurst Bike Park developed by Bathurst Regional Council on the Vale Road shows what can happen over time for a sport with broad stakeholder support.
Football, too, can grow and be a legacy to people like Kelvin Moore.
Funding has been sought, by the Community Opportunity Shop’s Pass-It Forward with Football program, through a Giving for Grassroots Australian Sports Foundation Grant, for an inflatable football pitch for the Bathurst community.
Time will tell if the funding application is successful.
The Community Opportunity Shop has also secured a Melbourne City Football Club autographed team shirt framed with the generous support of the Spatial Services Department. It is being raffled by the Macquarie Lions Club to raise additional funds for the Bathurst for Forbes Flood Appeal.
A Community Building Partnership grant was sought during 2016 by the Community Opportunity Shop to raise funds for a digital data monitor and/or goal post systems.
This would be the start of an upgrade of the clubhouse at Proctor Park and goal posts at Police Paddock with the ultimate aim of creating a football training centre space.
Football in Bathurst is also looking at ways to engage with Charles Sturt University civil engineering students and the Bathurst campus.
An upgraded amenities block at Police Paddock could present opportunities for cricket and the V8 campers as well as local football.
A number of interested Bathurst businesses have been approached to try to encourage interest in signage and other sponsorship while the sport continues to evolve.
I ask again now before Christmas that we as parents, players, coaches, businesses, teachers and administrators all think about what we can try to do to improve and optimise football in Bathurst.
Let’s think about our clubhouse amenities, access to technology, our access to international football products and our vision to create a point of difference for football in Bathurst.