A football club in Barton-le-Clay, whose ground took a battering from Storm Doris, is celebrating after receiving funding which will soften the blow caused by Mother Nature.
Barton Rovers Football Club, who play in the Southern League Division One Central, have been awarded a £25,000 product bursary to help renovate their club facilities on Sharpenhoe Road.
The Buildbase £100k Transfer Deal aims to help clubs become more financially sustainable and play a bigger role in their local community by providing investment into their general facilities.
The funds are particularly welcome for Barton as the club’s 4,000-capacity stadium was severely damaged by Storm Doris in 2018 and the £25,000 will now help recoup costs from that disaster.
"We’re a small community-run club and this money will go a very long way,” said chairman Darren Whiley.
“I don’t think there’s a single person in our village who won’t benefit in some way because virtually all of the 5,000-population here use the club in some capacity.
“Back in February 2018 the stadium was severely damaged by Storm Doris.
“A floodlight pylon blew completely over, damaging both dugouts and part of the press gantry.
“We had to spend a lot of money, time and energy cleaning up the debris because we were midway through the season.
“We had no time to fund raise or recoup costs because we had to fix everything quickly in order to carry on with the football.
“That damage came off the back on a pretty unlucky 2017 too. We lost about £9,000 in an armed robbery at our clubhouse which took place after a darts tournament. Three masked men held club staff at gunpoint and raided the kitty.
“So it’s nice to enter 2020 with more positive news. We’ll be spending the grant on a variety of things that benefit both our first team and grassroots football.”
Darren added: “Buildbase sponsor the FA Trophy and anyone who is in the competition can apply for the funding, we applied in November and made it to the last six.
“We were invited to Wembley to pitch our application, it was great to go there and pitch our idea, it was a great day out.
“We do a lot of work in the community and the club is used seven days a week by different groups and there are so many people that will benefit from the facilities being improved.
"It is great for the community as well as the club, the facilities need improving and everyone is happy with the news, which was announced on Friday.
"We are going to build a small extension that will have disabled toilets, ladies changing rooms, a new players' entrance, a food kiosk, and basically tidy the place up a bit."
“The work will start once the football season finishes in April, it will be too difficult to do the extension during the season, it should take about six weeks to complete.”