Baseball Victoria is pleased to share that three Victorian baseball clubs have been named as recipients of the VicHealth Active Club Grants.
This round, 153 community sport clubs throughout Victoria will share almost $500,000 of funding, including Churchill Braves, Essendon Bombers and Pivot City Tip Rats Baseball Clubs. This valuable funding will help kickstart new initiatives and ensure Victorian sport clubs are well-positioned to help the community stay active and socially connected despite the COVID-19 challenges.
VicHealth Active Club Grants are awarded twice a year and provide sport clubs with two tiers of funding (up to $3,000 or up to $10,000) to support more people to be physically active. Clubs use funding to cover start-up costs associated with establishing new participation opportunities, including purchasing new equipment and uniforms, training coaches/facilitators and covering the cost of venue hire.
Churchill Braves Baseball Club
Churchill Braves Baseball Club will use the Active Club Grant to implement a T-ball program to build the confidence and fundamental skills of baseball in junior participants.
Gregg Duncan, President of Churchill Braves Baseball Club, says they want to boost participation and recruit more players so they can add a junior team to the local LVBA competition. “The Active Club Grant will allow us to purchase additional gear and upskill our coaches,” Duncan said. “It gives us the chance to run a T-ball and modified baseball program over the off-season, providing opportunities for enjoyment, development and getting our local community active in a sport. It will also allow the club to grow by recruiting younger members and their families.”
A T-ball program is a priority for Churchill as a promising pathway into the sport as they look to encourage kids to participate and enjoy the game at a young age. “We want to run this program to introduce participants of all abilities into an active lifestyle while learning the fundamental skills of baseball - throwing, catching, running and hitting in a safe, fun and non-contact environment,” Duncan said. “T-ball is designed for participants to learn hitting off a tee targeted at children under 10.”
Essendon Baseball Club
Essendon Baseball Club is introducing a new entry level female team for teenage girls and women who may have previously experienced the sport and to provide more social opportunities for new players.
The Active Club Grant will support the addition of a third women’s team. The club plans to field teams in VSBL Women’s Division 1, 2 and 3 in order to provide opportunities for players at all levels, and the funding will go towards new club equipment, team support and marketing and promotion to spread the word.
Essendon’s Ros Gowty says a female-centred teenage team is a priority for the club. “The focus of the new team is teenage girls and women either returning to the sport or wanting to start playing,” Gowty said. “The teenage years are a critical time for girls in their lives and we think baseball provides a great social and physical opportunity for girls of all levels of experience and skill.”
The club community wants to share their love of baseball and foster a supportive environment for player development across all skill levels. “Baseball is not always a traditional sport girls think of to play, so it will be great to have the opportunity to promote this with the grant funding,” Gowty said. “We have a few junior girls, and some teenagers already, and would love to increase our player numbers in this age group.”
The new program aims to provide a pathway for all female players to be participate and enjoy the sport in a grade that meets their own playing goals and skills. “We have a great group of players, coaching staff and committee who are welcoming, friendly and supportive of all players,” Gowty said. “We also hope that the new program can support some of our existing girls and women to take on leadership and coaching roles within the club. There are wonderful new facilities at EBC, including a brand-new indoor training facility, and we would love as many people as possible to be able to utilise them.”
Pivot City Tip Rats Baseball Club
Pivot City Tip Rats Baseball Club is introducing a new social Masters Baseball competition for people over 38 to respond to the growing number of participants who want a non-competitive, supportive program focusing on skills development.
Glenn Morris of Pivot City says the club, formed last year, will get a big boost from the funding, especially after joining the VSBL and starting from scratch in their first season with no club equipment or uniforms. “We relied on borrowed gear from my winter baseball club, and a couple of us financed the uniform purchase to get us going,” Morris said. “The grant will mean that the club can purchase its own equipment without needing to substantially increase member fees, which we hope will mean all players will return this summer season along with new members.”
Uniforms, equipment and injury prevention are priorities for the club as Pivot City looks to make it easy for people to join the sport by offsetting some of the uniform and equipment costs. The club hopes to have two summer teams by the 2021/22 season, and the grant money will go a long way to helping them achieve that goal.
“As a masters club, we are trying to encourage past players back to the game, and new players to give it a try for the first time,” Morris said. “We have already introduced six new players to the sport of baseball last summer, as well as three players returning after an extended absence, and aim to add to that this summer. Along with bringing new people to the sport, our overarching goal is just to have fun. We had a great time playing last summer, and the new guys are already asking when the new season starts.”
Baseball Victoria congratulates Churchill, Essendon and Pivot City Baseball Clubs on their successful grant applications, and we look forward to seeing these projects take shape in the future. Learn more about VicHealth’s Active Club Grants HERE.