When sport and community join together they not only live the dream they have the power to create it. From the moment it was formed in 2005 FC United has set out to prove that football and community can exist in a new way. So much so, that the club’s obligations to its fan communities and local communities are set down in its constitution and in 2009 the club’s efforts in supporting the community was rewarded by gaining the Cooperative UK’s Cooperative Excellence Award.
In its ‘comparatively’ brief history FC United have not only lived the dream, the club has also shown how putting supporters at the heart of the club can bring its own reward. Three straight promotions in the early years have been followed by further success; with the club reaching the playoffs in the Northern Premier League, Premier Division in the last four seasons.
Until now FC United have ground-shared with Bury FC; but as a club which reaches out into the community, it is now building its own ground and community facility at Broadhurst Park in North Manchester. With function rooms, sports pitches and community changing facilities the club’s new premises will be “open to the wider community as we seek to increase participation in sports” as well as strengthening its ability to continue its community and volunteering activities across Greater Manchester.
FC United of Manchester turned to Crowdfunder to help it to raise £26,000 to kit out the function room and community space at the new ground. Such was the enthusiasm shown by the crowd for this innovative club that the target was reached in just four weeks, with the club going on to raise a massive £51,395 by the time the funding round closed on 19th May. A total of 679 backers pledged money to help with the project in return for rewards ranging from eternal gratitude to match day experiences. But more than mere rewards, the backers were showing just how powerful the crowd can be when supporting a project which reaches outside the norm to embrace the wider community.
Writing on the Crowdfunder website the FC United team looked forward to the time when the new facility will be up and running adding “None of this would have been possible without the people who have pledged to our Kit it Out project, and those who have shared it with friends, family and on social media.”