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Multi-million-dollar Darling Street grandstand kicks goals

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Newcastle Olympic FC star Laura Hall has endorsed council’s strategy to redevelop Hamilton South’s Darling Street Oval, labelling it a “game-changer”.

The $3 million project – funded by City of Newcastle (CN), the football club, state and federal governments – is set to become an inclusive and fully-accessible facility for passionate spectators and home and away players alike.

The renovation will feature female-friendly changerooms, a new grandstand seating more than 300 fans, improved disability access, an additional community space as well as the refurbishment of existing amenities and a formal off-street carpark.

Ms Hall, the first grade captain, admitted the upgrade would be “incredibly beneficial” moving forward.

“In just three short years, the Newcastle Olympic Women’s Program has grown to more than 150 female players and coaches,” she said.

“With the FIFA Women’s World Cup about to start, that number will only continue to increase.

“We are grateful to City of Newcastle, state and federal governments and to our club for their contributions and, more importantly, their support for women’s football.

“The new female-friendly facilities are most welcome.

“I’m sure they’ll have an invaluable impact on our players and those of our visiting teams.”

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the grandstand upgrade, which is expected to be completed by December, would ensure every footballer and spectator felt welcome and supported.

“Council is committed to investing in inclusive facilities and elevating women in sport,” she explained.

“Female participation is growing at a rapid pace, both at a grassroots and senior level, and this demand will reach new heights following the FIFA Women’s World Cup being hosted on home soil.

“This project will deliver a facility for the entire community.

“With accessible parking spaces, new shared footpaths, lift access and amenities for people with a disability, Darling Street Oval will be able to meet the needs of all its members.”

Newcastle federal MP Sharon Claydon said the investment would have far-reaching benefits for Newcastle Olympic FC and encourage further participation among the club’s nine female teams.

“Darling Street Oval is a vital part of our community,” she stated.

“It is home to a fantastic local club, which provides so many children and young adults the opportunity to kick-start their sporting futures.

“I’m delighted we’re investing $625,000 into this key project.”

Newcastle state MP and Minister for the Hunter Tim Crakanthorp said local sportsgrounds, such as Darling Street Oval, presented wonderful opportunities for the community.

“These improvements to the grandstand and amenities are going to make the ground more accessible and welcoming for everyone,” he added.

“Newcastle Olympic FC is an asset to our community.

“I’m thrilled to have been able to advocate for and secure $937,500 for these upgrades.”

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