READ MORE - Kyneton Tigers fighting financial crisis
ALMOST two years after calling for community support in a bid to help resolve a debt of about $200,000, Kyneton Football-Netball Club has whittled it down to $40,000.
The Tigers last weekend concluded a successful raffle launched last October where they sold 2000 tickets at $100 each, with the first prize of a Toyota Hilux from Kyneton Toyota won by Emily Thomson.
The raffle, as well as an auction night last year that generated more than $50,000, have been the two major fundraisers the Tigers have held to eat away at the debt, which former president Karen O'Sullivan said in August of 2018 stemmed from a legacy debt from the Tigers' senior side recession in 2013, combined with improvement costs at the club, such as a new netball court and lighting.
"The club has worked really hard over the past two years; it hasn't been easy, but we've got the debt down to $40,000 now and we'll keep working to whittle it down more before the start of next season," Kyneton president Julie Priestley said on Friday.
"It has been a hard slog, but what this raffle has done for the club will change it completely.
"There will always be that negativity of the debt that we were in when there was so much talk about it, but now the turnaround has been really positive and we're working on ideas as to what we can do next.
There will always be that negativity of the debt that we were in when there was so much talk about it, but now the turnaround has been really positive and we're working on ideas as to what we can do nextJulie Priestley - Kyneton president
"We had a good fundraiser last year with an auction night that raised more than $50,000, we tightened all the purse strings around the club, we've had a fantastic treasurer David Yunghanns this year who has really helped us and given us a lot of guidance and the raffle has been a huge success, so we're confident we'll soon have the debt completely wiped."
Meanwhile, earlier in the week the Tigers became the first club to withdraw their under-18 football and 17-under netball teams from the BFNL's under-age competitions.
The two competitions and all training have since been put on hold following a recent increase of COVID-19 cases in the region.
"We've been speaking as a club all throughout about the situation and what happened last week with Gisborne Secondary College (closed following positive case), games being postponed and numbers of cases growing in our area, we had to weigh up the risks involved in playing," Priestley said.
"We felt it best to err on the side of caution and put the safety of our players and community first and that's why we made the decision that we did. It's an unfortunate situation because the league has put a lot of work in trying to get a season up for its junior players, but safety has to come first.
"We thank all the players, coaches, officials and parents for giving it everything to get back to play."
Maryborough has since followed Kyneton in withdrawing both its under-18 football and 17-under netball teams, while Gisborne didn't enter from the outset.
There is no under-age football or netball being played in any AFL Central Victoria-run competitions this weekend.
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