Town of Narrogin
Project: Narrogin Regional Recreation Centre
The Need: An important centre with a town population of 5,000 and a wider regional population of 10,000, Narrogin attracts many visitors who come from a radius of between 30 and 50 kilometres for commercial and leisure reasons. Its existing sporting facilities for netball, basketball and hockey were inadequate, its diving pool had reached the end of its serviceable life and after extended community consultation, the Town of Narrogin decided to coordinate a capital appeal campaign to fund a comprehensive Regional Recreational Centre.
The Goal: To raise $1,400,000 locally to go toward the cost of the Centre, estimated to be $8 million.
The Approach: The Narrogin Regional Recreation Centre opened in August 2002 following a Funding Feasibility study and wide consultation with user groups, community members and organisations. CEO of the Town of Narrogin, Gary O’Neil, says it is now ‘the best recreational facility in the state’. The Centre has a synthetic hockey pitch with a hospitality viewing area, two new indoor stadiums for netball and basketball, a new gymnasium and a state of the art squash court. Its 25 metre eight lane indoor pool also has a ‘walk in’ beach entry and the leisure pool includes a spa and whirlpool. The Centre also houses a family and children’s service area and crèche and is located next to the million dollar community centre which is a venue for horseracing, cricket, football, tennis and bowling.
Before making this large commitment to the Recreational Centre, the Town of Narrogin considered the opportunities such a venue gives for becoming a major sporting destination in Western Australia, attracting fixtures and carnivals from locations as far away as Esperance, Kalgoorlie and Geraldton. Narrogin also attracts many day visitors and the increased leisure opportunities offered by the Centre will result in those visitors spending more time in Narrogin with the potential to boost its economic development.
While the Centre was in the planning stages, it was supported in principle by many large and small businesses, a broad section of the farming community and other local people. This support resulted in approximately $1 million being pledged to the Centre over a nine month period, an amount which will be realised over the next four years as part of the Town of Narrogin’s long term plan for funding.
The initial fundraising was done in three stages on a one-to-one basis, with members of the fundraising committee first approaching those large corporations with a local presence whose operations are based in agricultural property, machinery or production. The second stage of fundraising was a similar approach to large businesses based in the area and the third stage, to local small business and interested individuals within the community. Plaques and an honour board recognised individual contributions. All are eligible for tax deductibility because the project meets the guidelines of the Australian Sports Foundation, which Gary O’Neil says was of prime importance in establishing the fundraising strategy for the Town of Narrogin.
The Challenge: One of the main challenges in fundraising was that while the Centre was still an idea, it was difficult for the fundraising committee to ‘sell’ what would eventually be in place. Gary O’Neil says this challenge was largely overcome by using a system of pledges to be progressively redeemed further into the future, rather than asking for immediate donations.
The successful strategies
- Excellent sporting facilities can play a large role in boosting economic development;
- For a large building project, give opportunities for prospective donors to preview it at various stages;
- Encourage wide community consultation, allowing a long lead time for people to have input;
- Decide early on the fundraising approach to be taken – and stick to it.
Location: Narrogin is 197 kilometres south west of Perth, in the upper great southern part of Western Australia’s wheatbelt.