FIONA PHILLIPS MP, MEMBER FOR GILMORE: It’s great to be here at the Kiama Tennis Club today. We’ve met here to make a wonderful announcement through the Stronger Communities Programme and that’s just over $7,000 towards the refurbishment of an artificial synthetic court.
It’s wonderful to be able to provide funds to wonderful community groups – this is a Tennis Club that has over 400 members – right from young ones to seniors – and a couple of tournaments and things here and we know how important that is for people in the Kiama area.
This program, as well is providing funds to a number of community groups, the Kiama Surf Lifesaving Club will also benefit. There’s lots of projects all up and down the coast.
I think we have been obviously through one of the most difficult years that we could ever imagine – with bushfires, with drought, with floods and now coronavirus. I think it’s really nice to be able to give back and to provide funds for community groups that once these social restrictions ease a bit more down the track, that these facilities will be here for people to enjoy, moving forward.
JOURNALIST: Can you talk just a little bit about the significance of grassroots sport to the social fabric of Australia and especially during this time?
PHILLIPS: Oh absolutely, I’ve got no doubt, as a mum myself with four teenagers, the impact and importance of community sporting groups and facilities – here in Kiama and right across the South Coast. Every day of the week I know these courts get used, whether it’s seniors, whether it’s young people, whether it’s people getting coached, whether it’s for tournaments.
We see that with tennis, we see that with every sport – right through the South Coast. They’re really family centred sports as well so you’ll see families involved through the generations and I think what better way to help people, to have that health and wellbeing than to be able to participate in sport.
JOURNALIST: You mentioned some of the other clubs that got funding as well, do you reckon you got enough of the pie.
PHILLIPS: Well we go the maximum for our area, which is about $150,000 which I’m absolutely stoked about. But if you’re asking me whether the government should provide more, absolutely.
The South Coast has been through one of the most tumultuous years that we’ve ever seen and we need every single dollar.
There’s been so many groups that have approached me for funding, and we need to find more funding for more groups as well.
JOURNALIST: How important is it to get some funding for the Kiama Tennis Club?
ANN BOULTON, SECRETARY KIAMA TENNIS CLUB: Well to resurface any of the courts is nearly $30,000 which is a vast amount of money and the court that has just been resurfaced had some problems. It’s a high court due to some water issues underneath it. So, it was essential that we regraded it.
Most of the courts are used most of the days, either for coaching, or for social or competition, so it was critical that we got as much money as we could from the government plus the funds that we raised then through our membership.
JOURNALIST: What was the member’s reaction to the grant money coming in and what you got?
BOULTON: Always very happy, always happy. Because we have a large membership, we try and keep the membership fees down as low as possible. We have done some fundraising in the past and particularly with the seniors tournament we have been running in the past couple of years, and this year as well, it’s important that we keep it as economic sport as possible and it is a very economic sport.
JOURNALIST: How many members do you have here and what’s the age range?
BOULTON: We’ve got over 400 members and they range from juniors up to 80 plus – and even the 80 pluses are very competitive when they are on the court. But we try and cater for all members, being social which I am, or more competitive like some of the gentlemen behind me.
Every day, up until COVID-19 started there was something on. But we’re still playing, we still have people playing, it’s a maximum of four people on the court at the moment.