The Heart of the Community:
Community sporting clubs have a rich history in South Australia, and it’s no different at Mitchell Park Sports and Community Club.
Officially created in 1979, the club is home to the Mitchell Park Cricket Club, Football Club, Tennis Club and Netball Club, as well as the Tigers rugby league club.
President John Gumley says there is no better time to be a part of the club as when teams are playing well and winning premierships. “Sporting clubs are really the lifeblood of communities,” John said. “They play a hugely important role, and we feel a great sense of responsibility to keep the club running successfully.”
Social groups also meet at the Mitchell Park Club, including a group of ex-military personnel called the Emu Club and the food and wine group Bib & Tucker. The club is also popular for private functions such as birthday parties.
The oval is also rented out for sports events, for example, the Glenelg Football Club has conducted pre-season training at Mitchell Park.
“We try to rent it out as much as we can, to as many different groups as we can. It’s one of our sources of income. We also rent rooms out to training groups, which is another handy source of income, and a good use of the space during the day,” John said.
But the main source of income is money flowing over the bar. “All income is used to support the clubs. We’re a not-for-profit organisation and we’re all about giving back. We keep the building facilities maintained, we pay the wages, we pay for the electricity for the lights on the oval, we pay for the water to keep the oval green – we make sure it’s a great home base for our teams,” John said.
MGI has been conducting the required annual audits for Mitchell Park Sports and Community Club for more than 10 years. Clayton Lawrence conducts the audits but his service to the club extends into other areas throughout the year.
“It’s the ongoing support Clayton and his team at MGI give us to help us do things better that really makes a different to our operations,” John said. “New rules and laws come in and it’s great to have a professional partner who can keep us in line!”
Mitchell Park is a typical sporting club, managed by a group of volunteers including John, the president, a retired business owner, mixed with some paid staff, including the bar manager, casual bar staff and cleaner.
“Because of the nature of sport and recreation clubs run by volunteers, people come and go – even people in critical positions to the organisation, such as the president, treasurer or secretary,” Clayton said.
“Because we’ve been involved for a long time, we help with the people transitions and set up systems to ensure the business can carry on when a key volunteer leaves.”
“We can help with controls and processes for every aspect of the business, for example, the recording of transactions, suggestions for cost cutting and suggestions for generating revenue, such as applying for grants.”
John said it’s comforting knowing that an experienced person like Clayton is looking at their costs and seeing if something looks out of control, such as electricity, water or insurance.
“We look at the books and try to see if anything is out of place, compared to last year, 10 years ago, or a similar business down the street,” Clayton said.
“While our primary role is the audit of the annual financial statements to ensure it’s a true and fair view of the financial position, where we can, we assist with the day to day running of the organisation. We want to ensure they are running as efficiently as possible, especially given they are working on a voluntary basis.”
The future looks bright for the Mitchell Park Sports and Community Club, with the local council and state government planning a $19.75 million redevelopment of the reserve. Plans include an indoor recreation facility with multi-purpose courts for sports including basketball and netball, a two-storey community centre, gym, function area and café.