Meet Your Neighbours: Kellie McLaren, C.E.O. Melton Hockey Club
Kellie McLaren is about to purchase a home in the Atherstone community and has lived in the greater city of Melton since 2002. Over these 15 years she has been a dedicated contributor to the community. She is involved in multiple Melton community groups, council committees and advisory groups and in 2015 she won the Melton City Council Women of the Year award. For the last 13 years she has also been C.E.O. of Melton Hockey Club. She tells us about why she loves the club, her community and the local places she likes to hang out.
What makes Melton Hockey Club special compared to other clubs and why do you choose to invest your time here?
Primarily it is the inclusive and family atmosphere. All ages, abilities and walks of life, male or female are made to feel welcome. My kids have all grown up at the club, we all have lifelong friends and strong bonds.
We embrace all socioeconomic levels [and we try to keep our] playing fees as low as possible for struggling families.
Why is Melton Hockey Club more than just a sports club – how is it involved in the community?
Melton Hockey Club is a leader in Women and Girls In Sport and Active Recreation programs and initiatives and has been awarded at State Government level for this. We are at the forefront of initiatives for increasing the awareness of sexual and gender diversity, promoting a safe and inclusive environment for all. We were also one of the first sporting clubs in Victoria to initiate the Fair Go Sport project, again for which we have been awarded.
Our Access For All Abilities work within Melton Specialist School, along with other developing programs within the community, allow for participants of all abilities to take part in hockey in some form.
The Melton Hockey Club is also an original supporter and participant of Melton City Council’s annual Djerriwarrh Festival and its Get Active Expo, encouraging Melton residents and their families to get active at any level.
We have been involved in a joint program with Wyndham and Melton councils, Healthy Eating In The West, and are extremely proud of the healthy eating choices that have been fully embraced by our members and their families. This is another program we were pleased to pilot within the community and, again, were awarded for.
The Melton Hockey Club also annually contributes to various charities by holding events specifically for the purpose of fundraising. Recent beneficiaries include Breast Cancer Network Australia, Prostate Cancer Foundation Of Australia and Relay For Life. We also contribute regularly to local personal causes and we help promote a safe community. Most recently we have been spreading awareness of the Lace Up Against Social Violence and Step.Back.Think. campaign; we are the only hockey club in Victoria to do so.
Phew! That’s a huge list of ways in which Melton Hockey Club benefits the Melton community. How does the community, in turn, support the club?
The Melton community have always been a great support to Melton Hockey Club and this is always paramount to the success of a grassroots sporting club. We have had 40 years [of support and we are] extremely thankful.
Without the support of Melton City Council, Heathdale Christian College, local businesses and of course our members we would not be where we are today.
Many local businesses also support us, either by way of sponsorship or donation of items, which are always extremely appreciated.
Peters Multi Services is a long standing club sponsor and supporter, providing all club trophies and awards along with countless prize donations over the years. Peters also supports our annual charity fundraisers.
Let’s Roll Painting is another great local supporter, sponsoring the club the last couple of years. Owner Robert Fraser is also a dedicated supporter of all Melton Hockey Club events and activities.
You spend a lot of time in the neighbourhood around Atherstone. Where is your favourite place to grab a coffee or a snack pre match or practice in the area?
The Hearty ’n’ Wholesome Diner (1/255 High St., Melton) always has something for everyone along with friendly service.
Where is your favourite place to unwind with the team and club members for a drink around Melton?
Tabcorp Park is the go to place for players and their families to unwind after a long match day. It is affordable and family friendly.
Where is the best place to take the kids out for a meal or a play in and around the Atherstone area?
There are many terrific options. As a family we always enjoy a meal at the Gamekeepers Secret as it is always good value for money and welcoming.
For a play my youngest daughter loves the new Atherstone Regional Play Space. We often stop for a play before or after hockey commitments next door at the hockey facility.
Where is the best place to buy sports gear locally for aspiring hockey players?
Amart Sports is the best hockey supplier in Melton; another great supporter of Melton Hockey Club.
To find out more about the Melton Hockey Club go to their website www.meltonhockeyclub.teamapp.com/