*BS*THE Centre Spot 2008 project is due to begin this summer and the supporters contribution to the new clubhouse has been given a timely boost.*BF*
Back in December club chairman Jim Parmenter generously pledged to underwrite the funding of the new facilities, which will cost more than £150,000, provided fans raise £30,000 by April in support for the project.
That target has been a challenge for supporters but the amount raised will soon total more than £20,000 thanks to a £10,000 grant sanctioned on Wednesday by Dover Town Council.
The grant has been awarded to the Supporters Trust, which will present the funds to the club for its Centre Spot Appeal Fund at the end of the season once the grant has been processed.
Councillor David Lloyd, a long time Dover supporter, discussed the possibility of a grant with Paul Harrison, the Trust’s representative on the club’s board of directors. Paul then submitted an application to Dover Town Council for £10,000 and made a presentation to the council members, who approved the grant on Wednesday.
Paul told doverathletic.com: “We are absolutely delighted that the Council are supporting us in this way. They were very responsive to our application and incredibly positive towards the club and its supporters, whose input has been valuable.
“We are very thankful to David Lloyd in particular for his assistance and support. He and his fellow members made it clear that they were very impressed with the way the supporters had helped the club financially and the direction the club is taking both on and off the field.”
Dover Town Council have supported similar projects before, assisting Dover Rugby Club amongs others, and the community-aspect of the football club’s redevelopment plans also encouraged them to get involved.
The one-storey brick-built facility will be able to comfortably sit up to 200 people for a banqueting function, perfect for wedding receptions, parties, business conferences and many other events.
And, furthermore, the clubhouse will be more spacious so our fans can enjoy refreshments before, during and after a match in a far more welcoming environment.
Paul Harrison said the Council’s grant is a victory for the supporters of the club: “We invited about 20 fans to represent the club at the Full Town Council Meeting, a cross-section of the fan base including some children wearing replica shirts.
“My thanks go to those supporters, and everyone who has contributed to the Centre Spot project so far. This grant is a large chunk of the finances required and I hope we can push on in the next few weeks.”
One way supporters can join in with the fundraising finale is by supporting events such as the Wine & Wisdom evening on Friday, April 11.
The Supporters Trust is also holding its AGM on Thursday, April 17 at 7.30pm in the Centre Spot, and fans are encouraged to attend.
On the agenda will be a suggestion to rename the organisation the “Supporters Society” as one way of adapting to its changing role within the fabric of the club. The committee would like it to encompass the merits of both the Trust and a supporters club, involving more of the fan base in its activities.