FEMALE football and cricket players will soon have access to unisex change rooms at Des Penman Memorial Reserve in Nollamara for the first time.
The State Government has provided $400,000 towards the $1.6 million project led by the City of Stirling through the Community Sporting and Recreation Facilities Fund.
There will be four unisex change rooms constructed as part of the refurbishment of the clubrooms, which will cater for both women and men’s teams.
Players from Nollamara Amateur Football Club and Nollamara Cricket Club have been forced to use public toilets, cars, bushes or the sidelines to change clothes.
The Stirling State Emergency Services are also based at the reserve.
Football club president Brad Flindell said the club had more than 50 players and the numbers were growing as it got closer the 2019 season.
“A lot of the players were getting changed into their footy gear at home before they came to the ground and we also would set up a portable gazebo or get change in the toilets – it wasn’t very ideal,” he said.
“Definitely more girls will want to come to our club because of the new unisex change rooms, also we will be able to retain the girls we currently have.”
He said since there were a few female players in their 30s and 40s, the club decided to field a veteran’s women’s side this year.
Stirling Mayor Mark Irwin said the upgrades would ensure the facility would fully accommodate women’s teams which was vital given the growing popularity of women’s sport in the area.
Sport and Recreation Minister Mick Murray said he expected the clubrooms would encourage more local people to participate in community sport at the facility.
“Female cricketers and footy players will no longer be treated as lesser sportspeople when they pull the boots on for a match at Des Penman Memorial Reserve,” he said.
Morley MLA Amber-Jade Sanderson said the upgrades were desperately overdue.
“This is a great grassroots club and important hub for local families,” she said.
“We want them to continue their great work.”
For information on the funding program, visit http://www.dsr.wa.gov.au/funding/facilities-(csrff)