STOWMARKET Town have upgraded their spectator facilities thanks to Football Foundation funding.
The Pitching In Isthmian League North club, who play at Greens Meadow, were successful with two separate grant applications.
One was for £50,000 towards the total cost of £73,669 to replace and install new spectator seating in their main stand, install a new spectator hardstanding and also a pitch perimeter barrier.
The other was for £27,668 for the installation of a new toilet block costing a total of £39,526.
Stowmarket Town Chair Neil Sharp said 162 new seats had replaced the old benches in the stand that were beyond repair.
The club are also repairing and building new pathways around the ground to accommodate more fans and increase their capacity to meet the Step 4 grade D grading. The club are waiting to hear whether they have passed the ground grading for next season.
New fencing has been installed around two sides of the ground.
Work has also been carried out on the toilet block behind the Bob Moore and Geoff Squirrell terrace stand.
Spectators watch the CNet Training Suffolk Senior Cup Semi-Final between Ipswich Wanderers and Old Newton United from the new stand at Stowmarket Town FC before the perimeter fence was installed. Photograph: Paul Voller
Sharp said: “There will be three mixed toilets there. These are plumbed in temporary toilets. A new block, also housing disabled facilities, will be installed post-season.
“We have also repaired the gents urinal behind the main stand.”
The funding covered £77,668 towards the total cost of £113,195.
Sharp said: “We funded the remainder ourselves, through our savings. However, the council have encouraged us to apply for CIL funding for anything that may benefit the community and we are in the process of doing this.”
The work had to be completed by the end of March and Sharp said: “This is a significant step for the club, not only allowing us to play at this level and push for promotion, but to bring better, modern facilities to our spectators. We now have a base to grow from.”
The ground improvements are the latest developments to improve the facilities.
Sharp added: “Through our own fundraising and the Buildbase bursary we won, we have installed a new turnstile building, built a new committee room and a commercial kitchen with improved supporter access.
“We have also added a new community area to view games from and made improvements to the bar and community hall.”
The Football Foundation are the Premier League, The FA and the Government’s charity that helps communities improve their local football facilities through football grants.
The Football Stadia Improvement Fund is funded by the Premier League, and awards capital grants to EFL National League and Women’s Pyramid down to the lower levels of the FA National League System.