David Mann, vice chairman of Cleethorpes Town FC and winner of the 2017 Buildbase Club Renovation Programme, explains how winning the product bursary has enabled the club to move back to its home ground – and shares some tips on how to apply.
Winning the Buildbase product bursary has made a massive difference to us. We took over our club, Linden Homes Club, back in 2011. It was a sports and social club, and it was at the point where we took it on or it would close.
There were people who had been members for 30 years, it meant so much to the community, the value of the place is huge to them. We’ve got an eight acre site in the middle of town and 32 teams, it facilitates boules, cricket, football - but there’s no hard standing, no floodlights, no adequate changing rooms, no fencing or turnstiles – you just can’t have that as a club at our level, as we keep rising up the leagues.
The first team currently play at a council facility five miles away, all our other sides play at Linden. We’re pleased to be able to have the first team there, but being able to return to our home ground means so much to us and the wider community. Winning the bursary has literally facilitated our move back to our home ground at Linden Homes.
We get no income other than gate receipts from being at Bradley Community Stadium, unfortunately, so moving back to our home ground is even more important to us - for a club like ours it’s just not sustainable. By moving back to Linden, we can take our future into our own hands from a commercial and community perspective.
Here’s what we’ll be able to build with the materials we’ve won with the Buildbase bursary:
· New fence 2.8 metre around the ground
· Hard standing all around the pitch
· Bases for floodlights, ducting and electrical wiring
· Concrete bases for the new stands
· Waste and toilet facilities
· Cosmetic overhaul of our changing rooms
· Car parking
· Disabled access
We've started using the bursary, and the first proper part of that project starts on 23 October, with the fencing going up around the pitch. We hope to be ready for our ground grading by 31 March 2018.
With the money we won from The FA, from the tournament itself (we were in the final of the Buildbase FA Vase at Wembley back in May), most of it has gone into creating a new surface. We’ve just had the grass re-grown and re-levelled, so now we can get the fencing up.
Winning the Programme has already made a huge difference to us. There’s a buzz about the town, people are more interested in us than they’ve ever been. For us to get to Wembley was just incredible for a side of our size. We must be the smallest club ever to have got to Wembley, even in the Buildbase FA Vase.