Instead of our stadium being something you can only play on if you're good enough, everyone will be able to use it, whatever your level of ability.
We’re going to fix the floodlights too, so we can play on into the night, 7-days a week. With the extra capacity, more youth team training and matches will be able to use the ground, and with fewer matches on the surrounding pitches, those pitches will be more playable and resilient through the winter.
We’ll also be able to let the stadium be used by 5-a-side leagues for people in Clacton and surrounding areas. We think playing at a stadium with changing rooms and a bar and catering will be more of a draw than playing in a fenced-off area at a leisure centre. We’ll also be able to run soccer schools using the extra capacity.
Our club is at the crossroads. We can keep on fighting to run our junior and senior teams and just about manage it, but it’s getting harder. The weather is getting worse and getting wetter. The stadium sits on a landfill site with poor drainage means regular postponements and the fixture list is anything but fixed.
As a result, people can't make plans to come and play and take time off, or come and watch us. People who've set aside time to train and play get disheartened and drift away, and the club suffers from not having regular predictable income.
And, to cap it off, every year there's a mad rush as we try and fulfil our fixtures before the season ends.
It's getting harder and harder to keep our heads above water, and if we don't do something radical, we know the club will eventually collapse - from a lack of volunteers as people get exhausted by the constant juggling and struggling, or lack of players as they get fed up with the constant uncertainty, or just because we run out of cold hard cash.
We love this club too much to let that happen and so decided to stop waiting for things to change us, and change them ourselves. We’re taking back control!
This will cost us around £638,000. We've already secured a mixture of investment, grants and loans that cover 80% of this, and so we're now needing to find the final £145,000 from the community to make this all happen (and if we can raise more from the share issue, we’ll reduce the amount we're going to borrow).
We're incredibly grateful for the support of the Co-op Foundation who have agreed in principle to invest £50,000 in this share issue (subject to due diligence), and Power to Change's Community Shares Booster Booster Fund, who have invested £100,000.
How much will it cost me?
The minimum investment is £1,000 and the maximum is £40,000. We know that this is a lot of money, but we don’t have much choice here – we need to raised the money and as much as we’d like to think the people of Clacton will rally to our cause, we have to be realistic about how wide our network of support in the community is.
Pitch in together!
However, we can accept joint investments, so families can club together to buy a share, even if they can’t afford one on their own. You can join up with as many people as you like, but it’s important that you tell us which member of the group will be the person who acts as the nominee (ie, the person who we sent all communications about shares to, basically).
Because the share is what gives you the rights to interest, getting the money back and voting etc, it’s important that you work out how this will all work yourselves. If there is any dispute between groups about who is the named shareholder, we can’t get involved.
Who can invest?
Anyone over the age of 16 can invest, as can organisations or groups of people clubbing together.
Can I get my money back?
Yes - as long as the club does well enough! We're anticipating being able to allow 10% of the total investment made to be repaid to investors (with 4% interest on top) each year (in the first few years after the pitch opens, it will be much less than 10%, but as we pay down more of the loan and as the usage of the pitch increases, we're projecting that will be able to get to that 10% sum).
Can I read more about this?
Yes - through the links at the bottom of the page, you can access:
Investors are urged to read all three before finalising their investment.
FC Clacton was formed back in 1892 and has proudly served the local community ever since. The club played in a variety of regional leagues, such as the Ipswich & District League in the 1920s, the Southern League in the 1950s, and the Eastern Counties League in the 1960s.
Following changes in ownership and legal structure in 2016, the club was reformed as a Charitable Community Benefit Society in 2016 - the first charitable club playing in the English football pyramid!
We currently play in the Eastern Counties League Premier Division, which is step 5 of the National League System, at level 9 (that's 8 promotions from the Premier League, 5 promotions from the Football League).
This share issue has been awarded The Community Shares Standard Mark, which is awarded by the Community Shares Unit to offers that meet national standards of good practice.
For more information about community shares, the Community Shares Standard Mark and the Community Shares Unit visit communityshares.org.uk