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Supporting AFL Victoria and safer club canteens

ESV is an Official Partner of AFL Victoria.

We’ve proudly supported of the growth of country football and together raised awareness of gas and electrical safety issues in regional areas for more than nine years.

Safer Canteens through our canteen grants program

In 2018 we developed the ESV Canteen grants program ‘Safer Canteens’ in partnership with AFL Victoria, to directly support local clubs financially, and raise awareness and understanding about energy safety at a community level.

In 2020,  Director of Energy Safety Marnie Williams, announced the extension of our partnership for a further three years. This commitment ensures community football is supported during this difficult year and into 2022.

Over the next three years through the Safer Canteens grants program ESV will invest over $90,000 to replace old and sometimes dangerous equipment in football club canteens.

Victorian clubs competing in leagues affiliated with AFL Victoria can apply for a grant to purchase new electrical or gas equipment for their club’s canteen, to replace aged, faulty and dangerous equipment.

Marnie Williams launches the 2020 partnership

In our first year we received over 150 grant submissions and another 113 in 2019. There are countless stories of old, broken down equipment being used by volunteers, who were potentially at risk of an appliance-related injury.

The overwhelming response in our first year helped us understand the struggle many clubs face funding the replacement of canteen equipment.

In June 2018, we announced that 27 clubs would receive a canteen grant. In addition to the grant fund, each successful club received a merchandise pack from ESV; including new menu boards, canteen counter mats, and a ‘Canteen now open’ A-frame – each displaying our energy safety messages.

Safer Canteens program successes

In 2019, the ESV Safer Canteens program contributed to safety improvements in 30 canteens across the state, delivering a total of $25,000 in grant funds.

These 30 grants bring the total number of club canteens to receive funding for safer gas and electrical equipment to 57 since the introduction of the program.

The ESV Safer Canteens grants program was established to provide grants to AFL affiliated football club canteens for the purchase of new or replacement electrical or gas appliances. This year 113 clubs applied for up to 50% of the total project cost, with a maximum grant of $1,000 per club.

In addition to their grant, ESV provided each successful club with a range of display signage – menu boards, a Canteen Now Open sign and bar mats – each featuring ESV’s energy safety messages, with the expectation these messages will be seen by hundreds of hungry supporters across the state each week as they line up for their pie, sandwich or drink.

2019 Canteen Grant recipient clubs:

Calivil United Football Netball Club$1,000
Caulfield Bears Football & Netball Club Inc$1,000
Charlton Football Club$1,000
Dalyston Football Netball Club$700
Diamond Creek Women’s Football Club Inc.$1,000
Dromana Football & Netball Club$400
East Ringwood Junior Football Club$500
Echuca Football and Netball Club$1,000
Frankston Dolphins Junior Football Club$1,000
Garfield Netball Club$1,000
Heathmont Football Netball Club$400
Inverleigh Football Netball Club$1,000
Jeparit Rainbow football Netball Club Inc$1,000
Koroit Football Netball Club$700
Longwood Football Netball Club$740
Lorne Football & Netball Club Inc$1,000
Lysterfield Junior Football Club$500
Meeniyan Dumbalk United Football
Netball Club
Morwell Football Netball Club$1,000
Old Geelong Sporting Club$1,000
Poowong Football Netball Club$500
Port Melbourne Football Club$1,000
Russells Creek Club Inc.$680
Shepparton Swans Football Netball Club$1,000
South Yarra Football Netball Club$1,000
St Mary’s Sporting Club Geelong$1,000
Upwey-Tecoma Junior Football Club$500
Wickliffe Lake Bolac Football Netball Club$1,000
Wodonga Footy and Sports Club$1,000

ESV awards 2019 Canteen Hero to Bert from Drysdale FNC

ESV is celebrating footy clubs’ unsung heroes – the canteen volunteers – by announcing the winner of our 2019 Canteen Hero award, Bert Van Lith from the Drysdale Football Netball Club.

ESV presented the award on Monday 28th October 2019 at the Club’s AGM. Unaware of the proceedings, Bert was surprised and sincerely humbled to receive the recognition and by his Club’s appreciation for his years of service. In addition to plaque and letter of congratulations from the Director of Energy Safety, Bert also received a $1,000 grant towards the purchase of new electrical or gas appliances for the Drysdale FNC canteen.

Following the successful handout of 30 Canteen Grants to AFL Victoria football clubs from across Victoria, totalling $25,000, we wrapped up our 2019 grants season with the inaugural award to recognise the contribution of volunteers to club canteens.

More than 70 nominations were submitted, and in a few cases, multiple nominations for the same Canteen Hero. We were thrilled to see so many clubs genuinely appreciative of the people who keep their meat pies warm and drinks cool throughout the season.

Ten finalists were selected and from those emerged our winner – Bert, from Drysdale. Commended by his Club for 40 years’ of service (20 in the kitchen), Bert has never missed a game and works tirelessly in the kitchen each Thursday night and weekend. During finals and on Grand final Day Bert co-ordinated the kitchen, committing to the fryers for over ten hours each day. His infamous ‘Berty’s Schnitz’ assured him the win, with the Club’s final comment on its submission stating, “every club needs a Bert”.

We also warmly congratulate our nine other finalists, listed below. It was a near impossible task to separate them from the winner with every nomination an inspiration and so well appreciated by their club. You are certainly your Club’s Canteen Hero.

We look forward to seeing more nominations in 2020 for our Canteen Grants Program and Canteen Hero Award.


Bert Van Lith, Drysdale Football Netball Club

Other finalists

Sue Lea, Calivil United Football Netball Club

Catherine Quinn & Nadine Scoble, Corio Community Sports Club

Joedi Scanga, Diamond Creek Women’s Football Club (DCWFC)

Casey Callanan, Gormandale Football Netball Club

Joy Trotter-Harris, Hamilton Kangaroos Football Netball Club

Karen Dixon, Korumburra-Bena Football Netball Club

Jim Macilwain, Maryborough Football Netball Club

Vicki Endrei, North Shore Football & Netball Club

Kenny Alvin, Wy Yung Football Netball Club