THE new clubhouse at Stoneylands, home of Long Melford FC, should be ready for the 2021-22 season.
Work on the £730,000 clubhouse is progressing well despite the COVID-19 lockdowns and some atrocious weather.
The Football Foundation, who work with their partners the Premier League, The FA, the Government and Sport England to support football at grassroots level, are providing nearly £480,000 of funding.
After four years of planning and fund-raising work finally started during the summer on a building which will safeguard the long-term future of Long Melford FC.
The club, who are the tenth oldest in the country, currently play in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division.
The old clubhouse is demolished (above) to make way for the new clubhouse at Stoneylands. Main photograph: An architect's impression of how the new clubhouse will look
The new clubhouse will also boost Long Melford’s already rapidly growing Youth section and provide a multi-purpose leisure facility for the local community.
Rob Bowden, who is Chair of Long Melford Colts and Fillies, who also use the ground, and Vice-Chair of Long Melford Community Sports Trust, said: “The concrete slab foundation was completed in December and everyone held their breath as the club’s stand was lifted by a huge crane and swung into its new position.
“Bricklaying for the building, which will include a club room, bar, kitchen, two FA standard dressing rooms and office space, is also complete and the internal and external framework will be in place by the middle of March.
“Once the roof is in place, attention will switch to completing all the internal decoration in time for the start of the 2020-21 season.”
The foundations starting to take shape on the new clubhouse at Stoneylands
The new clubhouse will be managed by a non-profit making charity The Long Melford Community Sports Trust whose remit is to generate the revenue necessary to continually improve facilities at Stoneylands.
Bowden added: “The Trust will also take responsibility for pitch maintenance and have secured a £16,800 grant from the Football Foundation which will enable them to purchase a new John Deere Precision Cut mower.
“The football clubs are currently reliant on the neighbouring cricket club’s mower, and the new one will help improve the sustainability of both the main and youth team pitches.”