Strategic Community Investment Fund

AFLW star Katie Brennan with a junior player at Burnside Heights Football Club in Victoria

Local football clubs are at the heart of local communities. They play a critically important role in not only providing participation opportunities but deliver a range of benefits across social, health, community and economic outcomes.

Community football is the cornerstone of our game and underpins all aspects of our national sport. The AFL understands the challenges faced by football communities across Australia, especially with a change in demographics and community expectations, so it’s vital we continue to invest into strategically important initiatives that help strengthen, sustain and grow community football into the future.

On 17 September 2019, AFL Chief Executive Officer Gillon McLachlan announced the AFL’s Victorian Country Football funding initiative as part of the AFL’s strategic investment into community football.

A key plank of the investment is the establishment of the Strategic Community Investment Fund (SCIF) which will provide $1.5M per year for 3 years to respond to local and regional needs.

What is SCIF and how can it help my Club?

The Strategic Community Investment Fund (SCIF) is designed to financially assist initiatives that can support Community Clubs affiliated to AFL Victoria in three key strategic area:

• Grow and assist volunteer capacity.

• Grow and diversify participation.

• Improve club environments and player experiences.

What initiatives can my club seek funding for?

Examples of initiatives the SCIF may financially assist clubs with are as follows:

1.  Grow and assist volunteer capacity to drive initiatives such as;

• Undertaking short courses in areas such as electronic bookkeeping, governance, barista, RSA, food handling, etc.

• Improving club financial practices such as upgrading from manual cash handling to electronic POS processes or introducing accounting software such as xero equipment.

  • That can evidently be shown to reduce and ease the workload on volunteers such as line-markers (up to $2,000), boot-scrapers or subsiding new electronic scoreboard costs (up to $25k), etc.
  • Required to modify ovals for junior / AFLX games such as mini goal posts, cones to define temporary boundaries, additional goal umpire flags, etc.
  • Which improves the safety of the environment (such as netting behind goal, where balls can otherwise escape on to a busy road – up to $25k), goal post padding (up to $1,400) etc.

2.  Grow and diversify participation through initiatives such as;

• Start-up costs associated with the establishment of new or amalgamated clubs or new female teams for items such as new jumpers, incorporation, accreditation of trainers – up to $3.5k, etc

• Initiatives that encourage increased participation of multicultural, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, all abilities, or disadvantaged participants such as;

  • Subsidies for training and playing uniform and boots, registration and membership, up to $750 per player, etc. 
  • Assistance is setting up prayer rooms or religious spaces. 
  • Undertaking club cultural awareness training.

3.  Improve environments and experiences through initiatives such as;

• Initiatives, resources and or assets that promote and enhance child safety standards.

• Short-term financial support to distressed clubs ie where a natural disaster may have impacted on the club’s ability to operate.

What’s will not be funded by SCIF?

• Payments for services provided by coaches, trainers, administrators, 3rd party presenters, 3rd party club development providers, unless AFL Vic approved.

• Costs associated with catering, facilities improvements or acquisitions, advertising or room hire.

• Facilities improvements or acquisitions other than those associated with new electronic scoreboards and behind the goal nets.

• Costs for activities and/or programs currently offered by the club’s league or region, AFL Victoria of the AFL.

• Player payments or League competition fees.

• Projects that require ongoing funding assistance or routine or cyclical maintenance works.

• Retrospective funding for a project that commenced or has been completed more than three months ago.

When and how do we apply?

Applications related to the 2023 season have now closed. 

In 2023, more than $1.8 million worth of funding has been approved and will go towards financially supporting local clubs, to go with nearly $2.5 million in funding approved from the previous two years.

The next round of SCIF applications will open later this year and clubs across Victoria are encouraged to consider how the SCIF program could benefit their club.

CLICK HERE for more about 2023 SCIF allocations, including examples of club projects that will benefit from SCIF funding.

What else do I need to know?

Applications up to $25k will be considered and assessed against the above strategic areas by the SCIF Advisory Board. The SCIF Advisory Board may seek a letter of support from the Region Manager (Country) or League CEO (Metro), prior to considering. Such applicants will be advised post lodging.

Where applications include goods or services from a supplier, applications must, include official supplier quotes.

For electronic scoreboards and behind the goal nets projects approval from the landowner should be provided through a letter of support as part of the application

Successful applicants may be required to enter a Funding Agreement.


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