Bendigo Spirit given $40k government grant

THE Bendigo Spirit Women’s National Basketball League team has received a $40,000 boost from the state government. 

Member for Northern Victoria Damian Drum announced the grant this week and said it would help the side compete at an elite national level.

“The government was very careful before it agreed to these grants to ensure the Spirit had their off-field finances in order,” he said. 

“I think it’s going to give the side an opportunity to further settle their finances for a sustainable future.

“It’s certainly going to give them greater confidence, and the ability to hang on to good players and develop the players they have.”

Mr Drum said the government had been big supporters of the side. He said $260,000 had been donated to the Spirit over the past six years. 

“All basketball followers would be aware they don’t have a high-priced roster,” he said. 

“And in fact I think they’re doing extremely well on the court without spending ridiculous amounts of money on their players.

“Once we were convinced they were on the right track with their finances, we were delighted to be able to give what we call ‘seed’ or ‘development’ funding to the team. 

“It will give the whole franchise greater confidence to continue the work they’re doing.”

But it is expected to be the final contribution the state government makes to the team as it moves out of its development stage and becomes more sustainable. 

Mr Drum said it had been a “battle” for the Spirit to attract major financial sponsors. 

He encouraged the community to support the team to help it build a strong future. 

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