A Fenland football club is a step closer to achieving its dream goal after scoring a £100,000 grant set to benefit a whole community.
March Town United is pressing ahead with exciting plans for a new clubhouse, new changing rooms and a bar at The GER Club after a successful bid for funding from the Football Foundation.
The Hares are now awaiting the outcome of other grant applications to raise the £200,000 total needed – but are confident work will start on the project early next year.
March Town United director Nigel Fuller said the investment in grassroots football would be felt throughout the town.
“We are hoping to get the community spirit back into the town with football,” he said.
“We are so underfunded in March, we seem to have been left well and truly behind in Fenland.It’s time we started getting into gear as a senior football club, and if we get the ball rolling, then hopefully other clubs will see that money is available and what can be done with hard work.”
He said the grant comes after 18 months to three years of planning from the club, and is hopeful work on the project will start in January.
Club chairman Phil White said: “We’re over the moon to have got the grant. A tremendous amount of work has gone in to get us to this point and we’re very, very happy.
“It’s the final push to get the £200,000 now, but it’s no longer a case of ‘if’ work will start, but ‘when’.”
Deputy chairman Gerry Roe added: “We want to start building early next year but, while we are not too far away, we still need more funding. Further bids have gone in and we are just waiting for the outcome. We will not know until November.
“Facilities at the club are absolutely dire, not only for the club but for the town, so we hope to improve them for the whole town.
“Whether you are interested in football or not, the clubhouse will be for the whole community to use.”
In time, the club also hopes to install a fourth generation artificial turf pitch.
Fenland MP Steve Barclay, who has pushed for improved funding for Fenland’s sports facilities, welcomed the successful grant application.
He said: “The new clubhouse and changing facilities have the potential to significantly improve the experience of players and spectators, and also to strengthen the case for bidding for pitch improvements which could maximise the revenue potential of the new clubhouse.
“A standard grass football pitch can only be used competitively for four hours a week before the quality of the surface deteriorates noticeably. By contrast lots of matches can be played on the artificial pitches all year round, and now they have been approved for FA Cup matches and league fixtures it makes commercial sense to use them.
“It is exciting to see the new plans taking shape at March Town FC and I hope we can now use this as a springboard for further improvements to local football facilities.”