THE Inverloch Stars Soccer Club is in the midst of a huge fundraising drive to help install lighting at Thompson Reserve.
The reserve has no lighting, leaving the Stars no option but to train at various venues throughout the winter.
The $240,000 project has been made possible thanks to a $100,000 grant from the State Government and $70,000 provided by the Bass Coast Shire Council, as well as the provision of project management by the council.
The remaining $70,000 is to be raised by the soccer club and the project will be completed by the end of March 2017 in time for the 2017 soccer season.
Volunteers have been madly fundraising over the summer and have raised around $35,000 so far.
The Stars lighting project coordinator Gene Parini said the fundraising efforts have been amazing to date, but there’s still a long way to go.
“It’s been a massive team effort from everyone, from all the volunteers to people’s connections with businesses and sponsors, and doing all sorts of different stuff to fundraise,” he said.
“The lighting project is a huge milestone because it’s bringing everything together now at the one place.”
The soccer club was established in 2011 and now has over 150 registered players.
“Training-wise it’s been a mish mash of where we can train and when. The lighting project is going to have a massive impact,” Gene said.
“We’ll be able to train more so we’ll be able to open training up to maybe twice a week. We’ll be able to all train here, where there are soccer goals in the ground.
“For the community of Inverloch to have another ground that’s now fully drained and will have professional sports flood lighting is great.
“Thompson Reserve developing as a reserve not only benefits us, it benefits the cricket club and the rest of the community.”
Bass Coast Shire Mayor, Cr Jordan Crugnale, said the lighting will provide a great boost to club morale.
“(It will) strengthen the club through everyone being able to train at the one venue,” she said.
“This will also assist the club to recruit players and continue to grow membership.”
The Stars have launched the ‘Light Up the Stars’ campaign with the Australian Sports Foundation and is asking for donations towards the project.
Tax deductable donations can be made by visiting www.inverlochstars.com.au and clicking the Donate Now link.
The Stars will also hold its Annual Fundraising Ball on Saturday, August 27 at the Inverloch Hub.