Shildon AFC is one of two non-league clubs to win a 50% share of the annual £50K Buildbase Community Club Award.
The club is receiving a £25,000 product bursary which covers building, electrical and hire materials to renovate its facilities, having pitched its plans to a panel of judges from Buildbase and the FA.
And the clubs that have won the award this year were judged as much on their community involvement as their investment in football.
Shildon AFC has plans for new paving, decking and artificial grass in a community garden, café and outdoor seating area with wi-fi, which will support its homework club for two local schools. The outdoor space will also offer a place to walk for the over-60s, boules and space for kids’ holiday clubs and events.
During the pandemic, the club supported the community by delivering food parcels for local charities including the Solan Connor Fawcett Family Cancer Trust and Shildon Alive, organising holiday courses and meals for disadvantaged children and arranging socially-distanced visits for supporters with mental health issues during lockdown.
David Dent, club chairman (pictured at the top, centre, with Martyn Tweddle – secretary, left, and Michael Wilson – videographer, right) said: “This win gives us a new dimension and more flexibility as to how we stage matches. We can house more people on match day and are creating an appropriate, outside space as a lot of our supporters are older people and will be anxious about being in closed spaces after the pandemic.
“For our local community it will be a massive benefit, helping with holiday courses, homework hubs and engaging supporters with coffee mornings. This helps many people in the community with the facility being seen as a real asset to the town.”
Local Buildbase branches will be supporting the clubs with information, advice and supplying the building products required for their projects.
Andy Tompkins, Business Change Director of Buildbase said: “Non-league clubs have given incredible support to their communities during the pandemic and this is what the Buildbase Community Club Award is all about. Shildon AFC are a brilliant example of a club who has dedicated time and efforts to support local areas and families, whilst keeping the club going for the return of grassroots football.”