The AFL today launched the Strategic Community Investment Fund (SCIF) that was announced as part of the AFL’s strategic investment into community football in Victoria.
The Strategic Community Investment Fund will provide grant funding of $1.5m per year for the next three years directly to local football leagues and clubs. The fund is part of the $18 million investment into Victorian country football announced by the AFL in September last year, the largest investment in country football in Victoria in more than two decades.
Former Premier of Victoria Steve Bracks AC will Chair an independent Advisory Board. The Board will include representatives from across community football and will provide recommendations to the AFL to manage the allocation of funding.
The SCIF provides an ability to respond to specific regional and local needs, such as short-term relief to distressed clubs, assist with driving participation in non-traditional and diverse communities, assist with all-ability playing needs and grow and support female participation.
Applications for project funding are now open to all football clubs, leagues and regions with priority given to country regions.
AFL Chief Executive Officer Gillon McLachlan said the fund will focus on supporting clubs in need to drive participation and ensure clubs are able to attract new players to their clubs.
“Local football clubs are often the heart of their communities and we know how important they are for so many people,” Mr McLachlan said.
“Football clubs bring together kids and men and women of all ages and backgrounds and it is vital that the AFL helps to ensure these clubs not only survive but thrive.”
“Whether it’s a club or league program that engages and encourages participation across diverse communities, or a club which has ambitions to grow membership or a club that needs help in tough times, we hope this fund will be able to directly assist them.”
Advisory Committee Chair Steve Bracks AC said, “This is a great initiative for community football in Victoria and I’m honoured to be able to chair the Advisory Board and be in a position to directly assist local clubs and leagues.”
“This fund will provide great assistance to community football at all levels and assist in continuing to drive participation and growing the next generation of players, umpires and coaches.”
The SCIF is a key pillar of the Victorian Community Football Initiative and is in addition to the AFL Community Relief Fund established to support local communities in fire-affected areas.