Doncaster football club Tickhill Juniors are on a mission to improve their facilities, and they’re looking for local businesses and supporters to help them out.
The club is an FA Charter Standard Community Football Club, run entirely by volunteers and funded through a combination of fundraising activities and annual player subscriptions. Last year the club spent over £30,000 on pitches, grass cutting, pitch marking, trophies, footballs and other vital equipment that’s needed to run a local football club.
Around 200 local boys and girls aged between 5 and 17 play football every week at the club and the pitches – which are located on Friars Hill just off Worksop Road - are starting to suffer from the constant wear and tear, especially during the winter months.
Club Chairman Jeff Lockhart, who is spearheading the fundraising effort, says that improving the quality of the football pitches is vital to ensure that the kids continue to improve and develop over coming years.
“The club has grown tremendously over the last 10 years” says Jeff. “A decade or so ago our teams played on a handful of pitches spread out across Estfeld school, St Marys school and the recreation ground, but this all changed in 2006 when we moved up to Friars Hill, leasing fields from our friends David Brookfield and more recently Mel & Duncan Dewar”.
With the land secured the club went on to create a community football ground that now boasts 12 football pitches, a secure ‘nursery’ pitch for the under 5’s, parking for over 300 cars and a café and first aid area.
Jeff continues: “We’re really proud of what we’ve achieved over the years, but the popularity of the club means that the pitches are starting to suffer as a result of the constant use week in, week out”.
It means that quite often teams have to hire facilities outside of Tickhilll to train on so that the pitches can be preserved for match days.
To improve the overall quality of the playing surfaces, the club have applied for and expect to secure a substantial grant from the Football Association that will help the club to purchase vital machinery, including a specialist tractor, a grass mower and several other essential accessories, that will be used weekly to aerate, seed and improve the durability of the football pitches.
Jeff is confident this can be achieved. “Securing this grant would be fantastic news for the club, but in order to guarantee the funding we need to raise a significant amount of money to prove to the FA that the club and the community is 100% behind this initiative”.
And once the equipment has been bought, they’re planning on taking on a part-time groundsman to make sure the pitches are always kept in top condition.
The club are working on a number of exciting fundraising and sponsorship initiatives to secure the money needed, including naming of the ground, sponsorship of the individual pitches and other advertising opportunities.
Head of Fundraising Des White added: “We’re appealing to local people and businesses to help us to secure this grant. The beneficiaries over the next 10 to 20 years will be local children and the community that we’re all a part of. Anyone willing to help us through a donation, sponsorship, advertising or in any other way should get in touch”.
For more information contact Jeff Lockhart on 07951 332666 or email jefftlockhart26@aol.