October 2020

Keilor Park Soccer Club

What we did

Our club was established in 1957 and has a proud history. It has survived through the years to maintain its identity, increase participation and had evolved where it had capacity and this year has brought unprecedented challenges. The club like many other clubs and associations has endured difficult times and has called on its volunteer force more than ever to remain resilient and positive with one goal in mind – to return our players to the pitch.

The club has provided regular COVID updates, online training programs, lockdown challenges, at home training programs, health and well-being tips and organised countless zoom meetings across all levels from the Committee, Coaches, team managers and players.

The downtime has also provided opportunities to review our current business plan and strategy given pending changes in senior committee roles - with the key themes focussing on improving our

  • financial sustainability;
  • improving governance and operations;
  • building plans to implement a soccer development program in 2021;
  • a key focus on our women’s program going forward;
  • improve community engagement, marketing, sponsorship and communications capability, and
  • the ultimate desire to move the club forward with a passionate volunteer force.

As you can see, we have been embarking on a several varying initiatives, ultimately the most important initiative during this year was to focus on our volunteers going forward who are the life blood of any club and to focus especially our longest standing volunteer family - Charlie and Margaret Cassar, who have volunteered for the club for 47 years. The KPSC community rallied around the Cassar family in late 2019 when Charlie was diagnosed with bone cancer. The club provided the Cassar family various forms of financial and emotional support and assistance.

The club in conjunction with WNPL Club Calder United who share KPSC’s facilities commenced an initiative to fundraise monies and to volunteer their time and effort to redevelop the club bar, naming it after Charlie Cassar. This bought our volunteer community together more than ever to honour and reward KPSC’s number one fan Charlie. The plan was to unveil the opening of the bar at the start of the season at the first senior men’s game, together with a past and present players function – unfortunately COVID got in the way.

Unfortunately, Charlie was unable to see the new bar in person passing away on the 2nd July 2020. This had an overwhelming emotional impact on our club and the wider soccer community with the passing of the club’s mentor and father figure. Posts on social media illustrated the impact of what one volunteer like Charlie is to our club. Posts from people who had known Charlie for years, to those who have passed through our club as visitors illustrate the impact Charlie and Margaret had on our members and the wider soccer community.

The club rallied further as one community during these difficult times and created a Go Fund Me Page to raise $10,000 to provide financial assistance to the Cassar Family and help with the wish of Charlie and his family to make Keilor cemetery his final resting place. This was a testimony to a volunteer that had given his heart and soul to the club and was widely loved by all of the soccer community.

Once COVID restrictions ease, the club plans to hold a series of events to honour Charlie, like an official opening of the bar with Club family and friends, with the opportunity to continue fund raising to support Margaret.

The annual club tournament has now also been renamed as the Cassar Keilor Parks SC tournament.

Why we did it

Volunteers are the life blood of any organisation – we wanted to support and celebrate and ultimately give something back to our longest serving volunteer member with the unveiling of the newly refurbished bar and to support the family more than ever during the emotional period of Charlie having to endure with cancer and then eventually passing away.
Our members wanted to show some appreciation to the volunteer dubbed Mr Keilor Park. Charlie worked behind the bar 7 days a week for countless years and was the first smiling face our members would see when they entered our clubrooms. He assisted building a wonderful family culture at the club that is well and truly admired amongst its peers.

We wanted to celebrate Charlie’s and Margaret’s volunteering efforts across our membership base and use their contributions as a pivotal opportunity to source the next level of volunteers that would follow in the Cassar family’s footsteps to ensure our club can survive and prosper going forward.

With changes afoot in our club committee, the passing of Charlie and Cassar together with COVID-19 has motivated the club to engage even more so with our community and members to seek their assistance to implement the strategic initiatives that have been highlighted in the club’s business plans and to highlight more than ever that we need a new generation of volunteers.

Our members have also driven the need for change within our club to compete against the introduction of the NPL system by Football Australia. The NPL competition has impacted our player numbers, so we have embarked on a driving force to recruit new volunteers into our Committee and Sub Committee’s to develop a pathway to maintain the club’s strong identity in the Western suburbs.

How we know it worked

  • Charlies Social Media post on facebook - 16K views, over 350 engagements and 170 comments
  • The Go Fund Me page had a target of $5,000. We not only reached this target but exceeded by nearly double the amount. It’s a transparent measure of how we set a goal and successfully achieved it to ensure Charlies final resting place was at the Keilor Cemetery.
  • Live Stream of Charlie Cassar’s Funeral was viewed by hundreds and hundreds of members. An example of bringing the Community together at a time of need. Supporting all members who were grieving by being inclusive. Reaching out to our Community by giving them the opportunity to be a part of celebrating our most devoted and loved member of our Club
  • Capital works completed by volunteers – Club bar named after Charlie cassar
  • Based on the wonderful work of our greatest volunteer Charlie Cassar, the Committee recruitment drive to source new volunteers went into overdrive – we had multiple weekly zoom sessions to engage potential new volunteers in committee meetings, coaches sessions to set pathway development programs, advertisements for communications and website volunteer, engagement and involvement in strategy and business planning survey and subsequent meetings and working groups to set the strategy and plan
  • The sub-committee numbers where increased by 12 new sub-committee members
  • New volunteer members working together collegiately with existing committee members to document survey questions and to review findings to formulate the basis of a future business plan / strategic themes through working groups A key focus was to review the current state of the club, strengths and weakness, competitor analysis, survey/committee and nominated member feedback and develop plans for approval and implementation, including covid-19 rollout plans for season 2021.
  • Working group formulated specifically on volunteer force – “A desire to move the club forward and a passionate volunteer network”
  • Volunteer’s increased consultation and engagement with the Brimbank City Council – mayor Georgina Papafotiou, Councillor Virgina Tachos and Chris Saliba – the Sports and Community projects liaison officer with some great outcomes such as – $500k State funding received by Council modular changes rooms between grass pitches and synthetic pitches – which will allow the Council to deliver the full scope of four changes rooms, two referee rooms, first air, storage and a canteen
    • a ramp built for entry into the club rooms and grates removed to make entry for wheelchairs accessible and friendly
    • discussions with Council to fix a permanent plaque on the club rooms honouring legends Charlies and Margaret Cassar