Two years ago, the Lalor Warriors Cricket Club was on the brink of folding, but a City of Whittlesea grant helped bring it back from the edge – and boosted female participation at the same time.
And the return to a now-thriving club was sparked by two sisters who weren’t even members.
In fact, Nadia Falvo – now the club’s president – had never even played a match when her sister, Tanya Simic, enlisted her help.
Tanya, who lost a battle with cancer in March 2019, had heard through friends that the Warriors were in trouble.
“When they turned around and said ‘We’re struggling, we might have to close the doors’, we said ‘Let’s start the girls’ team’,” Nadia said.
“I think the senior men’s team had folded, there was really no money in the account for the club and they needed to take on a new direction.
“It was at the brink of collapse and it was a case of, let’s try something new, let’s get women in sport, let’s change this from a boys’ club to a family club.
“My sister was instrumental in starting the girls in the Warriors and I just came along for the ride.”
The pair launched the women’s side at the start of the 2018/19 season, and shortly after were successful in receiving a $3000 Female Inclusion in Sport Grant from the City of Whittlesea.
The grant allowed the club to buy equipment and waive fees for women and girls, making the sport more accessible.
Nadia said women tended to put their partners and children first when it came to playing sport, and the grant also helped the club to change the mindset and provide a platform for women to get active.
“We used those funds to fund equipment, uniforms, registration fees, things like that for the women so we could provide a free platform for women in the community to come out, be active and try something new,” she said.
“We took away the financial burden for the women to be able to participate – it's been phenomenal.
“It took that hurdle away of ‘if I try it and it costs me $150 and I don’t like it, I can’t quit.'”
Today, the club has three senior men’s teams, a strong women’s side with a list of 18 players of diverse ages and abilities, and hopes to launch several junior girls’ sides next year.
New players are welcome and need not have played before, with skills development provided.
And Tanya’s legacy lives on, with the club set to play its third annual cervical cancer charity match against players from the North Metro Cricket Association later this month.
The club will also host a free come and try session for This Girl Can Week at the Lalor Recreation Reserve (Sydney Cres) on Saturday, March 27 from 10.30-11.30am.
The City of Whittlesea’s Female Inclusion in Sports grants are open to all clubs, with up to $3000 on offer for projects which boost female participation in sport.
There’s a huge list of suggestions here, including setting up programs or teams for women or girls, hosting skills and development sessions or holding a come and try day.
If your club needs support with an application, or to discuss an idea, contact our Community Development Grants Officer on 9217 2397.