Jo Ghent by outside sign mobile 2023 09 28

Sign of the times: new placards for sports clubs

New Trusts signs are turning heads around The West.

An array of sports clubs is now displaying rebranded placards with the latest tagline, “Keeping it local.”

The installation stems from a funding workshop with Sport Waitākere held at Oratia United Sports Club in Glen Eden.

During the meeting, Lynette Adams, The Trusts’ General Manager of Community Engagement, spotted an interior sign with an outdated logo. The Trusts offered to revamp it and then extended the offer to other sports clubs which had received funding. Trusts signs are now being upgraded at Glen Eden Bowling Club, Henderson Bowling Club, Kumeu Cricket Club, Massey Rugby Football Club, and New Lynn Stags Rugby League Club. A new sign also takes pride of place at Crescendo, an Avondale music and recording studio with mentoring programmes for young people. The Trusts are sponsoring Crescendo’s new Pathways Programme which focuses on vocational skills training in the creative industries.

Meanwhile, Secretary Jo Ghent is delighted that Oratia United Sports Club is the flagship club to kick off the sign replacement initiative. One new board now hangs from the clubroom’s mezzanine and another larger model adorns the exterior wall facing Parrs Park. “The signs look amazing!” she says. “People in the community have been saying how fantastic the outside one looks."

Neighbouring the indoor sign is a giant cheque from The Trusts’ Million Dollar Mission fund for $15,565 donated on 6 May 2019. Jo recalls this paid for 10 new round tables and chairs as well as leaners and stools for the clubroom. The furniture replaced dilapidated, bowed rectangular tables.

The round tables are more conversational, she says, and entice families to socialise on Saturday mornings over hot chips and coffee. “Sometimes you can’t move in here,” Jo says. “We see the players in here after football games with their parents, grandparents, and the wider community, all taking time together as a unit. If we didn’t have the tables and the leaners, they wouldn’t be in here. That’s created a real sense of connection.”

Oratia United Sports Club has also replaced all the piers reinforcing the back deck thanks to a $ 5,000 grant from the Your West Support Fund in 2021. “All the supports on it were shocking,” she says. “The main thing is it’s safe now and not going to fall on anybody.”

The Trusts do many wonderful things, she says, not only for sports clubs but also for the community in general. “I see them involved in Vision West and Give a Kid a Blanket which is amazing. The cost of living is crippling for a lot of people. That fact that The Trusts are helping those community organisations is fantastic.”

Oratia United Sports Club has been an integral part of the community for 50 years. Marking the milestone will be a football festival and games for past and present players during Labour Weekend, along with a jubilee dinner on 18 November. The historic club is looking to fundraise for new carpet, paint, curtains and windows, she says, “because the old girl’s tired now.”

Oratia United boasts about 600 players starting from the tender age of four. “Our oldest player who is 73 retired this year,” Jo says. “He was playing football in a team with his son which is very cool.”

She says the World Cup has sparked a lot of interest in football. “We’ve had our first team of youth play in the Northern League, and they’re fantastic. I’ve seen them down here on a Saturday watching the juniors play. That’s the sort of club that we are."