Locals' last minute chip-in for hockey project

Colin Fox (MRHC), Shire President Pam Townshend, Maxine Williams (MRHC) and Shire chief executive Stephanie Addison-Brown.
Colin Fox (MRHC), Shire President Pam Townshend, Maxine Williams (MRHC) and Shire chief executive Stephanie Addison-Brown.

The Margaret River Hockey Club is celebrating a move closer to the start of their new home turf project with the Shire of Augusta Margaret River making their support of the project official.

Club fundraising officer Maxine Williams said the road to securing funding from various avenues was both urgent and meticulous.

"We knew that we really had to make this happen this year, as soon as we were successful with the Federal Australian Sport Community Infrastructure grant of $200,000, because that money needed to be spent on a project within a short term period," she said.

"We were really worried that if the Shire could not commit funding to this project, then we potentially could lose the Federal grant funding."

To secure shire funding, the club needed a strong indication that they would be successful in applying for a Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund Forward Planning grant from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.

"The CRSFF grant is a maximum of one third of your project total costs and to be able to apply for the grant, your project has to have the other two thirds of the project fully funded," said Ms Williams.

With the September council meeting date approaching, the club realised they would need to meet a shortfall of $110,000.

"After a few more sleepless nights, our committee came up with a plan.

"We would apply to the Sport & Rec Advisory for a $50,000 loan and then look at raising more funds on top of the $300,000 already raised."

With just 10 days to find $60,000, the pressure was on.

"We always aim to have a Plan B and for us, that was to bring the sponsorship signage package information forward.

"The proposed site will have a retaining wall perfect for sponsorship signs at the entrance to Gloucester Park, right behind the Rec Centre, so it is perfect for every visitor to see."

The clock ticking, the club approached local businesses for help.

"The heroes of the final hours were Middleton Consulting Accountants, Sports Power, Jarvis Estate, Fusion Electrical and Mitre 10.

"And thanks to our club sponsors Priceline and Yahava Koffeeworks we could report back to the Shire our intentions to apply for the $50,000 loan and a further $25,000 raised in sponsorship donations."

The effort was enough to satisfy the council, which voted to allocate $293,500 towards the project in the 2020-21 budget.

"Club Secretary Debbie Storey and I were in attendance at the meeting, and we shed tears of pure joy and relief when this request was passed," said Ms Williams.

"We can't thank the community enough for their support over the last year, our hockey family will be forever grateful."