Update: The Moyston and Willaura communities are celebrating this weekend following the announcement of a $390,000 upgrade to the Willaura Recreation Reserve.
Moyston-Willaura Football Netball Club member Kelly Evans, one of the volunteers that tirelessly worked on the funding application, was grinning from ear-to-ear when she received the news.
"I couldn't believe the news - I'm extremely happy," she said.
"We will finally get some new facilities.
"We have been campaigning for an upgrade for a very long time."
The Willaura Recreation Reserve is one of the homes of the Moyston-Willaura Football Netball Club and its seven netball teams.
While on a training night there are more than 70 netballers using the change rooms, on game day that number jumps to more than 120.
Ms Evans said the changes rooms, which she estimated were last updated in the '70s, was overdue for repair.
"The toilets are a disgrace," she said.
"There are double showers and the hand basins right straight into the shower floor.
"They are in desperate need of upgrading."
Ararat Rural City Council chief executive Dr TIm Harrison applauded the strength of Willaura Recreation Reserve committee.
"It's a good outcome for everyone involved," Dr Tim said.
"We have a small community in Willaura that looked forward... (beyond) the traditional path of funding applications.
"They have thought outside the box, and they were rewarded.
"Same goes to Mininera - they rely heavily on a small group of volunteers to water the ground numerous times a week. That's a big ask."
The CEO said the council would match the $30,000 grant for the Ararat Fitness Centre.
Earlier: The Ararat and district community has three new reasons to smile thanks to more than half a million dollars in grants from the State Government.
Labor Member for Western Victoria, Jaala Pulford, today announced grants for the Willaura Recreation Reserve, Mininera Recreation Reserve and Ararat Fitness Centre worth a combined $535,353.
The Willaura Recreation Reserve will see the bulk of the funds, with $390,000 dedicated to the construction of new female-friendly change rooms and amenities, and an upgrade to existing football (AFL) facilities to support future women and girls participation.
The new female-friendly change rooms and amenities will give netball, and AFL participants access to safe, modern facilities to further enhance participation and create an inclusive environment for women and girls.
Furthermore, this project will provide participation opportunities for women returning to the sport, through social netball and mums and bubs activities.
The State Government also invested $115,353 into the Mininera Recreation Reserve, which will see an automatic irrigation system, complete with water tank, installed and the resurfacing of the oval with a climatically resilient couch-rye mix.
The Ararat Fitness Centre will undergo a feasibility study thanks to a $30,000 grant.
This project will assess the feasibility of upgrades to infrastructure at the centre to maximise participation and ensure facility sustainability.
Once the feasibility study is completed, it will provide Ararat Rural City Council with a clear outcome to ensure the facility will meet the current and future needs of the local community.
The grants are part of the State Government's 2020-21 Local Sports Infrastructure Fund.
For more information about infrastructure grant opportunities available through the Victorian Government, visit www.sport.vic.gov.au.
More to come.
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox each Friday morning from The Ararat Advertiser. To make sure you're up-to-date with all the news from across the Ararat shire, sign up here.