Mark Weipers has been working on the Ellerslie Sports Club’s new complex at Michael Ave Reserve for over seven years. Now thanks to a NZCT grant of $300,000, he is a step closer to turning the club’s vision into a reality.
The NZCT grant is part of an overall project cost of $5.6 million that will see the Auckland club develop new amenities and clubrooms. The project is much more than bricks and mortar though, as the club sees huge potential for wider community use.
“The new complex will act as a central hub for the club’s activities and help address the lack of community facilities in the area,” says Mark. “We see a range of community organisations and volunteer groups using the complex once it is complete.”
Ellerslie Sports Club is the umbrella organisation for the activities of the Ellerslie Football and Ellerslie Cricket Clubs, a system that has been in place for 35 years. Each club has 6 months’ use of the sports ground and liquor licence per year.
“We’ve seen a significant amount of growth over the past few years,” says Mark. “The football club in particular has had a huge increase in numbers from 400 to over 1500 members. Much of this growth has been amongst females. We used to have two girls’ teams 6 years ago, now we have sixteen.”
The jump in membership has put a strain on the club’s existing amenities and the new complex will meet the need for increased changing room capacity. It will also address the current lack of segregation in the amenities.
“For both clubs to be sustainable moving forward this project is essential,” says Mark. “It will provide a central hub and base for both clubs, help us engage with the community and grow membership.”
Ellerslie Sports Club currently boasts 1900 members. Both codes have a big age range in their membership, starting as young as 4 years old through to people still participating well into their 50s.
Along with NZCT, the project is being backed by the Auckland City Council who are contributing $2.84 million. Fundraising is ongoing with applications being made to a number of community funders, as well as internal fundraising efforts.
Mark and the rest of the club are thankful to NZCT for supporting the project. “We’ve always had strong support from NZCT. They have supported the football club for about 15 years,” he says. “They helped guide us with the application and took the time to understand the project and what we wanted to achieve.”