Downton Needs You!
Like most communities across the country, Downton’s sporting and wider wellbeing activities have faced significant disruption and difficulties as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. As Downton Football Club looks to get back on its feet, the club - and the wider community - have been presented with a unique opportunity to secure and enhance the village’s sport, leisure and wellbeing offer. Please read on!
Background to our appeal
Established exactly 115 years ago in 1905, Downton Football Club has long been at the heart of sporting opportunity and success in Downton.
Still the only football club in the village, before the pandemic struck the club had experienced extraordinary growth. From just two adult men’s teams five years ago, the club now has ten youth teams from Under 5s right through to an Under 18 girls’ team. Our ambition is to have more than 20 teams by 2023/2024, including teams for boys and girls at every age group as well as ladies and veterans’ teams, and even walking football for our older villagers!
Our vision is to continue to grow the club as a popular and valued resource for the whole community. However, Covid-19 has really knocked the club’s progress. Restrictions on playing and training have taken away the chance to be active, compete and have fun from dozens of our junior and senior members, while the rules against large community gatherings have done massive damage to our ability to generate income to keep the club going – large fundraising events that are the lifeblood of the club, such as the Cuckoo Fair, the Downton Classic Car Show, club barbecues and formal dinners have been cancelled, and matchday sales of drinks and snacks have all but stopped too.
However, a brighter future for DFC and Downton is possible!
Key to any club’s growth and long term sustainability are high quality facilities and the ability to generate income from a range of sources. With only one senior pitch DFC have to hire a number of pitches outside of the village, and we are looking into the feasibility of one day providing an Artificial Grass Pitch at the ground.
In terms of changing, toilet and social facilities the club has for a long time been able to access the Clubhouse that sits adjacent to the pitch. Until recently, the bar, kitchen and adjoining Sherwood Suite were operated privately, meaning DFC often did not benefit from the trade it generated.
Now, a fantastic opportunity has arisen for DFC to take on the running of the Clubhouse.
This will have two major benefits: firstly, it will enable the club to generate much needed income, which initially will make up for the significant losses caused by Covid-19, and in the longer term will help the club improve its playing facilities and coaching offer.
Secondly, it will enable us to relaunch the venue as a place where the whole community can come and take part in a host of wellbeing activities such as dance, Healthy Hips & Hearts, toddler groups, Knit & Natter sessions, mental health programmes, as well as social functions such as birthdays, meetings and a range of cultural activities. It will also enable the club to cater for existing groups and clubs that previously delivered their activities at the Clubhouse, including darts and pool teams, community bingo and quiz nights.
The interior of the Clubhouse is very dated, furniture needs replacing and the bar and other services need an overhaul. DFC has put together a talented volunteer project team who, over the Winter of 2020/2021, plan to refurbish the facilities and get them open for the club and the whole community.
Our fundraising campaign
This is where our Crowdfunder comes in! We need to raise £20,000 to pay for the essential works needed to make the Clubhouse a bright, warm and welcoming place for all.
If the Downton community can raise £14,000 from more than 100 donors through this Crowdfunder campaign, Sport England will match-fund this effort with a further £6,000 through their ‘Active Together’ initiative launched to help sports club adversely affected by Covid-19.
This vital cash injection would help Downton Football Club to get the Clubhouse and Sherwood Suite open again as a fantastic facility for both the football club and the wider community. In turn, it will also help develop an important income stream to help the club keep developing its youth football, facilities and wider community activities.
We would hugely welcome any donation you can make to this cause, large or small. Donations can be made tax efficient (gift-aided) through our partnership with the BWSCA. Just select the Gift Aid box and the club will benefit from an additional 25% of the value of your donation! Alternatively, you could take up one of our fantastic rewards in return for your donation (note however that some of our rewards do not attract Gift Aid).
Thank you so much for your support and helping something fantastic come out of the Coronavirus crisis.