Grant helps unused tennis courts in Windale become new netball facility to engage the community

An overhaul of “dilapidated” tennis courts into a netball facility at Windale is hoped to encourage community activity in the suburb.

The conversion of the run-down Windale Tennis Courts, on South Street, into two netball courts has just been completed and is the new home for Atuka Netball Club.

The facility overhaul was made possible through a Department of Family and Community Services grant of $50,000 awarded the Lake Macquarie City Council via the Social Housing Community Improvement Fund (SHCIF).

Atuka Netball Club founder Tammy Miller started the club in 2010 but until now they have been training at Lakeside Netball facility in Belmont.

Ms Miller said the move means they can provide more convenient access to netball to the Windale community.

“There were a group of local girls who wanted to play in the Lakeside Netball Association competition so we formed an independent club,” Ms Miller said.

“We started with two teams and have now grown to seven this year.

“We’ve had a lot of interest since being at the new courts, with people driving past and seeing us here, and have 12 new players so far for this season. We’ve also had a lot of contact about next year already.”

Lake Macquarie City Council Community Land Planner (Sports) Steve Cowen said a key outcome of the project was to connect people of Windale with the facilities on offer in their suburb. 

“We had a set of disused tennis courts. We went to the tennis community first and asked if there were any viable users,” Mr Cowen said.

DRIVING FORCE: Atuka Netball Club founder Tammy Miller with Lake Macquarie City Council Community Land Planner (Sports) Steve Cowen at the new Windale Netball Courts.

DRIVING FORCE: Atuka Netball Club founder Tammy Miller with Lake Macquarie City Council Community Land Planner (Sports) Steve Cowen at the new Windale Netball Courts.

“Then we approached netball as a code to see if it was appropriate.

“We had a previous expression of interest to find a dedicated club base for training, so once we had identified an appropriate use we looked for an opportunity to fund a conversion and came across the SHCIF grant,” Mr Cowen said.

“One of the outcomes was the connectivity of people using the courts.

“We want to see as many people from local community social housing at the club and using the facility.”

The project has taken nearly 12 months to come to fruition and the result is two enclosed netball courts.

Ms Miller said the players have watched the courts take shape over the past several months and “the girls are so excited to have their own training base”.

The ages of players in Atuka Netball Club range from eight to 56 and Ms Miller said they would hold open days in coming months to encourage more community members to join up.

This funding was from round one the SHCIF grants, which aim to strengthen communities by building or enhancing infrastructure. 

Applications are being sought for $8 million in funding on offer for round three of the SCHIF grants in NSW.

Applications close May 10.

For further information, contact the Social Housing Community Improvement Fund team on 1800 379 184 or email SHCIF@facs.nsw.gov.au.              

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