THE home of the Churchill Junior Football Club will soon be revitalised with the addition of new lights.

Gaskin Park’s secondary oval, Gaskin 2, is generally used by the juniors, but the inconvenience of no lighting has forced them to run a disrupted schedule, stretching the connection between the juniors and seniors.

Minister for Community Sport Ros Spence and Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas announced an investment in 12 projects across the state backed by the state government’s Country Football and Netball Program.

The program aims to ensure that sport remains the lifeblood of communities across the state for generations to come. The 12 new projects will share in more than $2.5 million from the program that’s been kicking goals for country sport since 2005.

Gaskin 2, which is used by Churchill Junior Football Club, Churchill Football-Netball Club and Gippsland Power Football Club, is now able to be upgraded with the installation of new 100 lux LED competition sports lighting.

When the upgrade was announced, the Churchill Junior Football Club President, Shaun Hecker was over the moon.

“It’s massive positive for the club, for the juniors anyway,” he said.

“Five years ago, they stopped working, so we just told them we have to train until about quarter past five. As the days get shorter, the training sessions get shorter.”

Despite playing on a Sunday, compared to the Saturday that the senior sides play on, this time of the year still becomes a headache.

With Gippsland Power and the Churchill FNC running preseason training, the juniors have resorted to using a hockey pitch on a Friday night, just so the Under 15s can train.

Not only will it mean the juniors can train and play at home again, but the club will be closer together, making the transition from juniors to seniors much easier.

“The kids are really looking forward to it. We’ve been sharing the oval with the seniors and it’s not ideal – it’s a lot of traffic for that one oval,” Hecker said.

“We can’t train on the same nights as the seniors, so then it means you can’t really get senior players over to help out.

“If we can go back to training Tuesday, Thursday nights – same as the seniors – that means the (Under 15s) can go up and have a meal with the thirds boys, so it makes that transition a lot easier.”

The current venue is undergoing an entire facelift, especially after the announcement that revealed the Churchill Cricket Club and Churchill Baseball Club will be joining the football and netball clubs at Gaskin Park.

The turf on Gaskin 2 is getting resurfaced now with the addition of a turf wicket, while the cricket and baseball clubs are hoping to secure grants for a new pavilion – which was put on hold recently.

The resurfacing and installation of the turf wicket on Gaskin 2 is expected to be completed in 2025.

Churchill Junior Football Club launched their 2024 season last weekend on Sunday, February 18, with a family fun day.

“That was a massive success, it’s helped us fill all four sides plus five junior netball sides. I’m really looking forward to it, it should be an exciting season,” Hecker said.

Churchill Junior Football Club competes in the Traralgon and District Junior Football League, beginning on April 21.

Churchill Football-Netball Club are also in the process of adding a second netball court, with the development underway.