At the conclusion of the 2011 season, the North Heidelberg Football Club faced what Club President, Warren Haysom, best described as a “bleak future”
Relegated to Division One of the Northern Football Netball League competition, without an Under-19 side or any junior club to feed off, the club could hardly have imagined the positivity that would characterise the club in the years to follow.
Regarded as a “working-class, blue-collar club, that has had a solid reputation in the community for many years” according to Haysom, the Bulldogs generated a whopping $21,460 for the club with a stellar debut effort in the Toyota Good For Footy Raffle.
Haysom said the result was a reflection of the hard work that has gone in over recent years to bounce back, praising “a very loyal & terrific group of people” who supported the club through the COVID-19 landscape in 2020.
“The current committee is a very loyal & dedicated group of people who are striving for one thing – sustained success in the long term,” Haysom said.
“The club regrouped with plenty of hard work from the current committee and has built relationships with junior clubs and sponsors to ensure the viability of the club in the years ahead.”
“It [the Toyota Good For Footy Raffle] really grew for us… we introduced a club membership as part of the fundraising once it was established there was not going to be a return on the field, and before we knew it we hit $15,000, then crept up to $20,000.”
“We were the leaders for some time before our local neighbour Macleod overtook us!”
“We were ecstatic with the response considering that we had our coterie club fundraising efforts on at the same time – it didn’t detract from one or the other.”
In a time of great uncertainty, Haysom says the funding raised will be an invaluable source “to consolidate the club’s financial position.”
“We don’t yet know what the impact on sponsorship for next season and beyond is, the Toyota fundraiser is a further source of revenue that is likely to replace a decrease in business sponsorship – at least in the short term.”
The Bulldogs will be one of the big watches of Season 2021 as they hunt for promotion back to the top tier of NFNL football, having finished third in each of the last two seasons.
Boasting playing ranks which include the Harvey brothers – AFL games record holder Brent and former Bomber & Kangaroo Shane – the club appointed the former star Subiaco, St. Kilda and North Heidelberg spearhead Jason Heatley as senior coach to lead their charge.
“On field, we were quietly confident of participating strongly in 2020… like all senior clubs, the retention of players is high on our list.”
“We have kept our membership base engaged throughout lockdown with various news items & events relating to the club. Whilst we are not playing there have been many online meetings with players, coaches, committee on planning for next season.”
Haysom took the opportunity to dedicate a message praising the club’s supporters and sponsors for their support.
“A huge shout out firstly to all our business sponsors who have supported the club over recent season seasons – I say on behalf of the club a massive thank you.
“To our inaugural coterie club that we set up in late 2019 with the aim of improving the facilities at Shelley Reserve, it’s been a huge success and in difficult times nobody has flinched and our financial position today is testament to our sponsorship & coterie groups.”
“To our small but loyal band of dedicated volunteers, who for some can be wearing many hats as it takes plenty to run a sporting club these days, to you all the club we are supportive and appreciative of your time and efforts – our recent success is due to your efforts.”
“For others who may want to assist as a volunteer, but not be on one of our sub-committees, we can find a position where you can make a real difference to assist with our future direction of being a premier sporting club & being fully engaged with the community.”
Since launching in 2015, the Toyota Good For Footy Raffle has been a helping hand for grassroots football clubs to not only fundraise for crucial financial support but provide a platform for communities to come together and support their local clubs. In 2020, football clubs around Victoria raised a record amount of $429,640 for community clubs participating in the raffle, with 100% of the funds raised going directly to each club in the program.