A wonderful mood of happiness and pride permeated our club since the naming of Bonnet Bay FC as the Sport NSW Community Club of the Year.
While we have all long appreciated the incredible environment we have created at our club it is an absolute honour for all club members past and present to be recognised in this way. So many people have contributed in so many ways for us to be in this place today.
Our humble beginnings in 1982 are depicted in a picture inside the club entrance where there were simply two sets of posts at Lakewood – no training lights, no clubhouse, no tennis courts, very few trees, no playground, limited parking.
In the 36 years since we now boast a wonderful clubhouse and community centre, a picturesque riverside setting with trees, playgrounds, picnic areas. What a wonderful focal point for our community. And our teams enjoy a quality strip and off field gear fully funded by our amazing sponsors.
This is backed up by excellent player development programs which look at the entire person and a culture that expects members to behave in accordance with the club’s philosophies. We are truly engaged with local schools, other local sports clubs and other local and overseas community groups and these bonds are improving all the time.
It is important we all understand that an organisation is only ever at the starting gate. All members have a responsibility to help us continually build on and improve upon the wonderful base we have established.
We now have 600 players 40% of who are female. We expect these numbers to grow as we see significant increases in our junior membership. This creates longer term large issues as we will find it difficult to accommodate all our teams at our home base at Lakewood City Reserve. Your committee continues to investigate options for how we can deal with this but it is likely further capital investment by the club.
Let’s never forget the efforts of the pioneers who established the club and then those who have picked up the mantle along the way. It is extremely important now that the next generation steps up to make its contribution to our future. If you like what we do please offer your skills to help us to continue improving our offering.
For those who are interested please see below the criteria clubs were measured by for the Community Club of the Year Awards and our responses:
PERFORMANCE IN COMPETITION BY ATHLETES/TEAMS:
Bonnet Bay FC has just over 600 registered players who participate in competitions conducted by the Sutherland Shire Football Association which is the largest association in the southern hemisphere.
We have players aged from 4 years of age to over 60 who participate in a range of competitions. 40% of our players are female.
Despite being much smaller numerically than many of our peer clubs, in 2017 we were the only club in the Sutherland Shire to enter teams into the top two grades of both open mens and open womens football.
We were the only club to enter teams in the first grade open mens and womens continuously for 8 years until 2017 winning two first grade womens titles along the way.
KEY EVENTS RUN DURING THE PERIOD:
Events over the past 12 months include:
- we initiated a visit by renowned US youth coaching expert, John O’Sullivan, to Australia to provide parents with insights into how to help their children achieve optimal results from their sports experience. This was conducted under the auspices of Football Australia and Football NSW with grass roots clubs across New South Wales having access to free seminars held at 3 Sydney locations.
- a number of in-house seminars for parents and coaches of 4 to 16 year olds and players aged 12 to 16 to help develop a growth mindset to provide long term benefits to the personal and football development of all players.
- 2018 is the 6th successive year we have conducted an end of season trip to Cambodia to support Transform Cambodia through English speak sessions and football clinics
- various other events including community market day, golf day, girls night-in raising money for The Beauty Bank, open mic night, business forum dinner
INNOVATIVE VOLUNTEER LEADERSHIP & MANAGEMENT, INCLUDING RECRUITMENT, RETENTION, RECOGNITION AND REWARD:
Bonnet Bay FC is a benchmark club well beyond our own sport within the Sutherland Shire. We have developed our culture, facilities, personal development programs, community engagement and support of local and charitable causes by establishing clear goals then tapping into the skills of many members to achieve many things:
- development of a community clubhouse widely regarded as the best of its type within the Sutherland Shire. As well as being the base for much of the club’s social activities it is available to the wider community as a community hall. We have invested over $1m in cash and kind to this project with a $40,000 State Government Grant being the only other external support. We estimate 50% of this project was funded by volunteer labour. This project has been the catalyst for increased volunteer participation.
- to ensure our future we have worked very closely to develop close ties with schools beyond our traditional tie with Bonnet Bay Public School. These new ties are stronger as a result of parents valuing the environment we offer children which in turn leads to more volunteer coaches, managers and in other roles.
- our club values and roles are clearly defined & supported
DEMONSTRATED COMMITMENT TO INCLUSION AND DIVERSITY IN TERMS OF CLUB ADMINISTRATION AND PARTICIPATION OF ALL PEOPLE IE WOMEN, CALD COMMUNITIES, INDIGENOUS, DISABLED AND THE DISADVANTAGED:
At 40% Bonnet Bay FC’s proportion of female players well exceeds the State averages in our sport. We have 2 female committee members and a dedicated Co-ordinator for Womens Football.
While our area is not as ethnically diverse as many others we have players from many diverse backgrounds who are welcome and integrated within our club. We pay particular attention to supporting at risk children by offering a club environment which assists coaches and managers to deal with behavioural issues.
We have policies which ensure all members are guaranteed a position within our club provided they meet all their commitments to us. A number of our members have been instrumental in the rejuvenation of the Sutherland Titans FC (Football for All).
BUSINESS GROWTH AND DIVERSIFICATION OF REVENUE STREAMS:
The club has traded well over the past 10 years on the back of a strategic plan that set a clear direction. This enabled it to establish cash reserves and carry out various improvements to infrastructure.
Support for the club has surged since it completed its clubhouse in 2015. Income is now derived from the following sources:
- Cash & In Kind Sponsorship exceeding $100,000 pa
- Hire of Clubhouse
- Catering Services
- Regular Social Events
The club has fully retired all of the funds it borrowed to complete the clubhouse project in 2015 and has a 21 year lease over the property. This leaves it with a strong balance sheet and capacity to invest and borrow in our next strategic plan.
EXAMPLES OF INITIATIVES, TEAMWORK AND LEADERSHIP:
- Clubhouse project for benefit of members and the broader community
- Fully staffing canteen operations allowing volunteer time to be focused on player development and social initiatives.
- High levels of community engagement.
- Providing a home base for other groups including Lakewood City/Sutherland Shire Sister City Student Exchange Program and Sutherland Shire Junior Cricket Association U11 to U13 rep teams.
- Advanced approach to player development with heavy focus on mindset
- Advanced approach to continually developing club culture
- Providing advice to numerous sports clubs and community groups considering clubhouse projects
- First club in area to play regular night matches
- Ongoing strategic planning regime
- Establishment of a Business Network ensuring sponsors have the opportunity to receive a return on their investment
- Establishing a strong core within our membership that supports our commitment to initiatives such as the Annual Cambodia tour, Growth Mindset philosophy, community engagement
- Establishing a new Emblem in 2018 reinforcing our culture of working together for mutual benefit and the theme … “Belong, Engage, Grow”
- Establishing social integration between all sections of the club as a priority
- Appointing Club Chaplain