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Belvedere Park Tennis Club at LGBTIQ Fundraiser 'Court the Rainbow'

Belvedere Park Tennis Club – going Next Level for local sporting club grants

News & Events / Belvedere Park Tennis Club – going Next Level for local sporting club grants

Fiona Martin, Belvedere Park Tennis Club’s Treasurer (pictured above donning a purple wig during one of her LGBTIQ’s-friendly club’s many fundraisers), is surprisingly understated in person. She’s initially confused and humbled as to why they are being celebrated as a Next Level Good Sports Club. “I don’t know what you plan to write about, we’re not that exciting”. But Fiona’s relationship with tennis and her chosen club is a journey, and a story certainly worth telling. Tennis was always a family affair, “Mum played tennis, I’ve played since I was about 10″. For Fiona’s family, tennis was always a “social thing”, playing tennis in the afternoon, “then club players came back to ours for fish and chips.”

Fiona, now  56, says tennis has been a 46 year love affair. “I’m the Treasurer at the club. I have a background in banking, which comes in handy. I’ve been doing it about 15 years.” But to say that Fiona’s role at Belvedere begins and ends there would suggest one is unfamiliar with the traditions and realities of tennis club life.  “I also look after juniors, court maintenance, court hire, functions and events – I’m the go-to-girl at Belvedere.” Fiona tells us the story of her club, and how everything changed through a chance encounter with Good Sports.

A tennis club four decades old is young by local standards

Belvedere started in 1975, one of the younger clubs in the area. It has just 50 members, a small, close-knit club by Australian standards. “Like all Aussie tennis clubs we were huge in the 80s!” Fiona admits. “But as was the case with most, we’ve downsized a tad since then”.

Fiona’s been at Belvedere for nearly 20 years. “I love the people I play with, I love socialising with the girls and going head-to-head during the week. It’s right near my house, my kids were doing tennis lessons at the local high school next door so it was perfect”. Belvedere is one of about 30 clubs in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. But Fiona declares “it’s the one for me. It’s your typical Aussie tennis club- fundraising and always looking for new members. I’m always happy to give my time for Belvedere.”

Many little reasons to join Good Sports, and one big one

“We joined Good Sports because I said so”, Fiona chuckles. But truth be told, how Belvedere Park Tennis Club came upon Good Sports was purely by accident. “Frankston City Council ran a seminar about how clubs can apply for grants. We went to the seminar, and found Good Sports. Fiona recalls how she met Rod, who is now her club’s Good Sports representative. “He told us all about Good Sports, and we chatted after the presentation. The presentation struck a chord.”

Fiona’s club arrived at the seminar in a bit of a pickle. Their club’s licensee had recently parted ways with the club, and they didn’t quite know what to do. “We were confused about the licensee situation, the licensee had left, we needed help.” Fiona and her fellow members had been wanting to change the structure of their club administration into a committee. A big reason was “so we could take action on Alcohol Management at the club. The licensee had left, we had to do something!” Fiona says “Rod told us everything we weren’t clear on and helped us on our way.”

Going Next Level and getting the ball rolling on local sporting club grants

Fiona says so far the Good Sports experience has been fantastic. “You know what’s going on, Rod always makes things straightforward. The information Rod provides is invaluable.” Currently Level One, Fiona says her club is proud of their Good Sports accreditation and getting it was as easy as 1, 2, 3. “We were a Level One club in the first 4 weeks. I contacted Rod straight after the seminar. When Rod presented to the committee soon after that, it was all we needed to get the ball rolling. We see the value of Good Sports. It’s a stepping stone.”

Fiona’s advice for clubs looking to level up their accreditation would be to “get your committee involved and on board from day one, so you do everything properly and as a team.” For Fiona, the value of Good Sports comes down to one simple principle. Knowledge is power. “Don’t presume what you’ve got in place at your club is what’s required, even if it’s been in place for years, especially if you’ve had it in place for years! Things and times change and it’s important to stay on top of it”.

Fiona admits as a Level One club Belvedere is just starting to explore all the resources Good Sports has to offer, “and I’m planning to do that pretty much straight away. Levelling up was so easy”, Fiona says. “It’s hard work running a club, giving all your time, but it’s worth it. There’s policies the Good Sports program that are perfect for our club and we’ll be putting in place right quick.”

Belvedere Park Tennis Club is so much more than a Next Level sports club

For Fiona, there are no words to describe what Belvedere means to her. “In my life, it’s been so important. Belvedere was there when my husband got sick, and are my family. He’s been gone for 3 years, and they’re still here for me. Supporting me the whole way.”

Fiona passionately declares when you’re a Belvedere member, you know there’s people out there who’ve always got your back. “You’re not on your own. And with Good Sports it’s the same thing. You’ve got a partner to help out so you can be the respected community hub you deserve to be known as. They’re on your side and by your side.” Fiona says that’s one of the many reasons why she recommends Good Sports. “Good Sports was recommended to us by a local club, so I’m glad to do the same.”

Good Sports and Belvedere – a partnership that is already strong and will continue to grow

Fiona says Good Sports has been a partnership that is already strong and will continue to grow. “We came away with Good Sports, and it’s a whole new pathway forward to growing our club.” And Belvedere’s expansion is already evident and truly exciting for its long-time members. We’ve got junior teams for the first time in four years! But we need new uniforms for them so grants could come in handy. But first things first – we need new lights”, Fiona laughs. With Good Sports to help them along the way, Fiona believes it’s not the prospect of new court lights that are making Belvedere Park Tennis Club’s future look bright. It’s the possibilities of where Good Sports can help the club go next. Now that’s Next Level.


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