Community Fund Spot Light - Craigieburn Cricket Club
Craigieburn Cricket Club puts Donnybrae Community Fund grant to good use.
Since first establishing its Community Fund initiative in 2002, Dennis Family Corporation, has distributed well over $1 million in grants across various residential estates, providing invaluable financial support to local not-for-profit groups.
2022 marked 20 years since the program was first launched, and the past two decades have seen Community Funds established at a number of estates including Burnside, Rose Grange, The Hunt Club, Manor Lakes, Peppercorn Hill, Modeina, Westbrook and Ashbury in Victoria, and the Northquarter Estate in Queensland.
As of 2021, this list now includes the Donnybrae Community Fund, with grants of up $1,500 available to to local not-for-profit organisations operating in Donnybrook and Craigieburn.
One such organisation that was successful in applying for a grant this time round was the Criagieburn Cricket Club. Founded in 1975 by a dedicated group of cricket-loving locals, over the past 5 decades it’s expanded from just one senior men’s team to five senior men’s teams, one senior women’s team, three junior girls’ teams, 10 junior boys teams and an under-18 side. And if that isn't enough, it also runs the local Woolworths’ Junior and Master Blaster programs involving almost 50 children ranging in age from 5 to 10.
Craigiebrun Cricket Club caters for players of every age and ability, and from all cultural backgrounds, with some 17 different nationalities represented amongst its current members! But the Club remains very much focused on nurturing homegrown talent versus bringing in overseas players as it strives to maintain its position in the top grade of the association it currently plays in.
We recently caught up with Craigieburn Cricket Club President, Gerard Laffan, to find out a little more about the Club and how it plans to utilise the grant.
Tells us a little bit about you and how you came to be involved with Craigieburn Cricket Club?
I think it would be fair to say that I am rusted on to Craigieburn Cricket Club! I moved to Craigieburn in 1976 and joined in 1977. Since then, I’ve played over 450 games, only finally putting down the bat about two seasons ago. All four of my sons have also either played, or still play, here, and even my wife played a season with the women’s side! They can’t shake us!
I’ve been the Club’s President for the last 10 years, but I’ve seved on the committee in all sorts of roles since about 1980. As President, my job is primarily to ensure that the Club functions cohesively, that we meet our organisational requirements in terms of things reporting and governance, and to encourage members to play an active role in supporting and running their Club. I also represent Carigieburn at the Association level, and with both Cricket Victoria and Cricket Australia. Plus I also , work closely with our sponsorship parners and liaise with the local council on the Club’s behalf in relation to our facilities as and when required.
But most importantly, I think a major part of my role is welcoming the next generation of cricketers. I’ve always loved the game ever since I was a child, and I try to pass on that passion to everyone who walks through our doors and out onto the field.
What are the most rewarding things about being involved in the Club?
There are so many great things about the Club. But getting the chance to work with so many people from so many different backgrounds and walks of life is definitely one of the best, because they are all united by a common love of the sport and a sense of community. That feeling of contributing toewards something that members can be proud of is also pretty hard to beat.
What are the biggest challenges facing the Club?
I am sure every club would say the same thing, but it’s undoubtedly the extent to which we’re reliant on volunteers who are willing to commit ever-increasing amounts of time and resources to ensure we can run the Club. And we’re not just talking about coaching or training. Over the past few years many Cricket clubs have faced an increasing workload to ensure we’re compliant with various Association, Cricket Victoria, Cricket Austrlia and government guidelines and regulations. They are all really important to underpin and safeguard the health and wellbeing of the game, but I am always conscious that we ask an awful lot of volunteers and that it would be almost impossible to achieve everything we do without them.
What are the most popular programs, events, activities etc run by the Club?
Well, cricket games of course! But our social functions are where we try to get everyone involved at some stage, so they can meet and get to know other members, and have some fun off the field as well as on it!.
If you were granted one wish for the Club, what would it be?
After the ridiculously wet Spring we have just had, that’s easy! I just want the rain to stop so we can get back into the park and play! This year has been pretty diabolical thanks to the weather, and some of our sides have yet to play a game despite the fact that season was supposed to start in the first week of October. It’s pretty hard to keep coming back and then getting washed out every week!
How will the grant be used?
We’ve used the grant to provide a Club branded shirt and shorts to all our junior coaches as a reward for volunteering their services and time to train and develop all our junior boys and girls. There’s 15 of them in total and they each devote at least 8 hours per week helping out. For us being a member of the Club is not just about playing cricket. It’s also about being part of a community organisation, giving kids (and their families) a chance to forge friendships, build fitness and mental resilience. The coaches are an integral part of this process. The last couple of years, especially, have been quite challenging, with very limited opportunities to raise money for anything. So, this initiative will go a long way towards the Club being able to thank a dedicated group of people who have selflessly continued to show up through good times and bad to support young players.
How can people become involved, support the Club, join a team, become a coach etc?
Becoming involved is easy. Supporters are welcome to come down at any time and watch a game at the main ground, enjoy a meal with us on a Thursday night or a cool drink on a hot day. If you’re keen to play, just come on down to one of our training sessions or give us a call and we can talk membership options for you and/ or your children. And don't be worried about whether you have played before or ot as we cater for all abilities. If you’re inrerested in coaching, you’ll just need to attend a couple of on-line classes run by Cricket Victoria, and then we will guide you with one of the junior or serums teams. The bottom line? We always welcome anyone who wants to become involved with the Club. Just visit craigieburncc.com.au and send us a message and we can have a chat and get the ball rolling.