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6th Dec 2015

New Shade Structure Thanks To Southern Phone

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Echuca-Moama skaters will be a little more protected from the sun this summer — with a shade sail finally going ahead after years of fighting for funding. It all paid off for the skate park committee when community-owned organisation Southern Phone presented a $6000 cheque to member Belinda Cantwell. ‘‘We’re absolutely ecstatic,’’ the Intereach youth worker said. ‘‘Sun protection is just so important and it will allow the park to become more family friendly. ‘‘Not only will the skaters be safer when they’re having a break but their friends and family can enjoy watching them in the shade.’’

She said since its construction in 2011, the skate park had given hundreds of community members the opportunity to socialise and experience a new sport. ‘‘We’re continually developing new and safer concepts, be it friendly competitions with nearby towns or skate safe initiatives and learning programs,’’ she said. ‘‘There’s so much going on, it’s buzzing, a real social hub and the safer we can make it the better.’’

Intereach is continuing to raise funds for more shade sails at the skate park, including holding a range of events at the park, with the most recent being the final of the Loddon-Mallee Skate Series. Winners were Simon Dunn of Geelong on the open section, Hayley Wilson of Mansfield in the girls category, Jake Donohugh in under 16 and Devante Fisher of Geelong in under 12. The best performed local was Tongala skater Micka Edwards who took out second in the open event.

The skate park was among seven community groups in the Murray Shire which shared a $25,000 Southern Phone grant.The Moama-Echuca Border Raiders soccer club was also pleased to receive a Southern Phone grant for two shade cloths. ‘‘It will protect the players and coaches on the bench, and also some spectators,’’ coach Dave Coward said. ‘‘We’re extremely pleased and excited to receive the funding.’’

More than $1 million has been offered across 41 mostly regional council areas in NSW as part of a new community grant scheme.Southern Phone chairman Bill Hillzinger told recipients it was their money anyway. ‘‘You’re the shareholders, it’s yours, and we’re proud to give it you, thanks for investing in us.’’

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