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Buildbase Club Renovation Programme

See how the Buildbase bursary has helped Cleethorpes Town, as 2018 applications open

Wednesday 18 Oct 2017

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. 

The FA ;

We have about 200 kids at the club playing on Saturday morning from ages 3-11. That’s just them coming to train, getting involved and playing games on some of the outer pitches.

We want to make sure we get some kids off the streets and give them somewhere to go.

We’ve got quite a big set up for girls, we’ve got five teams now, and took on a vets team for some of the best older players in the town to come back to football and start playing again, and we’re going to start walking football in the next month or so.

We’re very keen on building teams for everybody and it’s all really off the back of this whole Buildbase
experience. It’s given us the confidence to do these things.

We fully anticipate, within the next two years, to start linking into schools, getting them to use the facility, inviting kids who maybe think they're not good enough for local professional clubs to play at ours. We’re in one of the top three deprived areas in the country, so there’s a lot of scope.

Here’s what I think would help anyone applying this time round:- 

  1. Have the confidence to apply. Just because you think you're one of 1000s of clubs, and you don't think you've got a chance, you should apply. You could win!
  2. Carve out some time. Give yourself enough time to do your application justice - at least six weeks if that’s possible.
  3. Think of the impact. How will this affect not just your club, but what's the community value? What local businesses will see what you’re doing and want to get involved?
  4. Don’t take it all on yourself. Get your committee together, talk it through and pool all your ideas together.
  5. Be thorough. You need to convince the panel the money is being spent well and be prepared for any question if you get through to the Dragon’s Den pitch process.
  6. Planning is key. Make sure you remember to budget for labour costs, for example.

Application details

All Buildbase FA Trophy and Vase clubs are eligible to apply for the 2 x £50k product bursary. One club from each competition will be successful. Applications are open from today until 14 January 2018. 

Six clubs will be shortlisted to compete in “The Big Pitch” – a Dragon’s Den style pitching event hosted at Wembley Stadium connected by EE.  

If you think your club deserves a share of the Buildbase , apply here by 31 December 2017. Check the eligibility criteria and terms and conditions in advance.

You can also follow the conversation at #BuildbaseRenovation and visit the Buildbase Blog for updates and the latest news on the Renovation Scheme. Good luck!

By FA Staff