New funding program
A new funding program will make defibrillators substantially more affordable for local clubs, according to Football South Coast chief executive Ann-Marie Balliana.
The program, which will be finalised for clubs early next year, will provide financial assistance for purchasing the life-saving equipment.
Football South Coast (FSC), alongside the Antony Stott Memorial Fund, plan to invest $30,000 into the program in the coming seasons.
The region’s football governing body received a $15,000 grant from the NSW Government’s Community Building Partnership Program for the project.
Both FSC and the Antony Stott Memorial Fund will contribute the remainder of the funding.
The Antony Stott Memorial Fund was set up earlier this year with the aim to help every club in the region gain access to a defibrillator.
Antony, a much-loved teacher at Moss Vale High, died after collapsing in a soccer game while playing for Thirroul Thunder at Thomas Gibson Park on July 16.
Bystanders used an automated external defibrillator from a nearby bowling club until emergency services arrived, but there was no equipment at the ground itself.
The funding program hopes to ensure that every club will have a defibrillator on site in the near future.
“What we are hoping to do with the fund is contribute to the defibrillator and then the club would contribute some as well which makes it a lot more affordable,” Balliana said.
“If we do that co-contribution scheme, it would be over 20 defibrillators which is a really good start.We have already got some who have them but unfortunately when things happen like it did with Antony, it really makes the sporting community aware of what can occur.
“We want to make this equipment accessible as much as possible for all of our clubs.”
Balliana added they hoped to invest in the program further in coming seasons which will benefit all sporting codes that play at the same venues.
Club personnel will also receive training in operating the defibrillators through the program.
There is more than 13,000 registered players with Football South Coast.