Ryde Saints Football Club:
Ride on Mower Fundraiser and COVID-19 Recovery and Sustainability Project
Club History and Who We Are!
Ryde Saints Football Club began life in 1995 with a sole aim of offering teenagers on the Isle of Wight an opportunity to train and play football in a safe environment, all year round, regardless of ability.
Twenty-five years later the club has grown from one side to eleven, and from fifteen teenage players to two hundred aged between four and forty-plus, both male and female. From hiring a single pitch at a local school, the club has taken on two long-term leases on previously disused Council sites to create five new sports pitches. Across both sites the club has built one car park, installed and refurbished three Portakabins, and laid hundreds of metres of new underground drainage. The cost of these projects alone is almost six figures, and that’s before we consider our yearly outlay on everything else, which again runs into thousands.
What Are We Crowdfunding For?
Club Secretary and youth coach Jayden Frankling explains in this short video, but in brief we have set a target of raising a total of £12,000 which we will be spending on...
- The first £8000 will be spent on a new ride-on mower for our site at Salters Park to keep the grass short and safe for footballers and the community alike.
- the next £2000 will be spent on materials to build a permanent brick built storage to keep our lovely new mower in.
- The final £2000 will be spent repairing and upgrading our existing small lawnmower into something to cut the grass at our other site at Smallbrook Stadium.
Why Do We Need This Money?
As Jayden and Willow's video shows, Salters Park in Ryde is a huge site. We are proud to manage such a beautiful, free to use, open space, but with the privilege comes high maintenance, and we need a huge ride on mower to keep the grass short for all the site users; the 'before and after' shots below show just how much we have done and why a ride on mower is so important.
Club Secretary Jayden Frankling: "Evidence has shown that football players perform to a higher level on well maintained pitches (http://boxtoboxfootball.uk/sports-performance-levels-dependent-pitch-maintenance/). This study also found that well maintained pitches cost less to run in the long turn, so reaching our CrowdFunder target will give our youth footballers from U7 to U16 the best chance to develop their fitness and football skills which we hope will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives."
Salters Park as We Inherited It...
Football Association Inspection Report, 2018: "The site at Salters Field was formerly used for football but has been left to grow wild for some time and is now in need of some extensive works to bring back into a suitable playing condition.
It would be of huge benefit to the area and the club if this site was brought back into play due to the growth that Ryde Saints have experience over recent years. They are the biggest club on the Isle of Wight in terms of teams, 10 in total with three adult sides and 6 teams aged 18 years and under. There is also an all-girls team.
The need for extra playing space is essential for the sustainability of the club and it is my opinion that with the right amount of time and investment, this area can be reborn."
...and Salters Park as It is Today
Community Impact and Who Will Benefit
And the projects we have undertaken haven’t just benefited footballers, but also...
- Families - in the 12 months before Ryde Saints took on the lease to manage the site, there were 7 incidents of arson reported to the police. This meant we had to dismantle a previous wooden outbuilding which was fire damaged and in dangerous disrepair. Since we have take on the site management there has not been a single incident, meaning that Salters Park is safe for families once again.who now have green spaces that are open, accessible and safe to use
- Local Disability Charities - as Jayden mentions The Pheonix Project and Haylands Farm, organisations who support and care for vulnerable or challenged adults and children now use the site for their activities.
- Dog Walkers - in a nation of animal lovers our community is no different! The short grass and backfilled wooden hills mean that adults of all ages can use the site safely.
- Duke of Edinburgh Scheme participants - Salters Park was identified as being safe enough for outdoor actives and tent assembly practice.
- The Whole Community - with government guidance directing that friends and family meet outdoors, accessible open spaces have never been more important. We have built a car park so that people can use Salters Park to keep in touch with loved ones in these challenging times.
The Effects of The Corona Virus...
Unfortunately, the impact of COVID-19 has hurt the club as it has many others around the world. Our finances rely on match fees received, subscriptions, our own fundraisers and local grants, all of which have been slashed due to the wider pandemic. A conservative total of our losses is £5000, but almost as significantly we have lost the use of our discounted grass cutting service which had become essential to our several acre site at Salters Park. This service has gone out of business as work and customers fell in lockdown, the costs of machine repairs rose, and the health of the operative could not be risked.
...and How It Threatens our Sustainability
The cost of a new company to take on our grass cutting and ground management has been quoted at several thousand pounds per year. The club simply cannot afford this cost, meaning that our choices are either turn to investment and self-sustainability now, or with no way of managing our sites and no viable alternatives, our youth section will simply cease to exist.
How Will Your Money Help?
Club Secretary Jayden Frankling: "After the abrupt ending to our teams seasons due to the coronavirus, it was a horrible 11 weeks before we were allowed back to playing football together as a team (starting in groups of 6), and a further 9 weeks on top before we could start playing games again! Add to this a further 8 weeks of football activity since the start of the 2019/20 season that we lost due to record poor weather, all of which has resulted in a massive reduction in income from match day income and wider fundraising (i.e end of season BBQs, team get togethers etc). Without the opportunities to financially support our players, their families or most of all the sites which we provide in order to do so has directly impacted our attempts at creating long term sustainability in our club as a whole, risking the futures of some of our teams.
We recognise that raising £12000 in these times is a huge challenge, but we also recognise that meeting these extra costs while suffering mass loss of weekly match day income during lockdown is not a challenge we can shy away from as our sustainability depends on it. We know our adult players and the parents of our youth players face financial uncertainly, but raising fees to them and potentially excluding those who cannot afford participation is not a pathway we can ever endorse: we are a community club, and we all thrive when as many of us as possible are able to come together - in these times of uncertainty more than ever."
First Team Manager and Club Football Lead, Andy Brown:"Ryde Saints are a community club and have a policy of providing the opportunity to players (of all abilities and ethnic origin), to play football and reap the benefits that it brings, both physically and mentally including social skills etc..
Youth players develop at different speeds and ages. We at Ryde Saints have a structure in place and create an environment/opportunity for all players to develop. They also have the opportunity to transition into seniors teams (we have three senior sides at various levels), progressively when at the correct age and or capable/comfortable to do so.
Its important to Ryde Saints to have this structure to both support the community and ensure the future of club!"
Club Founder and Current Director, Retired Dr. Des Murphy:"Ryde Saints players are encouraged and supported to be well prepared, be punctual, give and keep commitments, develop good listening and expressive skills, understand targets, trust others, encourage others, take responsibility and show initiative when needed, persist with their efforts, even in difficult times, respect colleagues and those in leadership positions, respond positively to instruction, work as a team, and show leadership when it is needed. This club ethos is is just as central today as it was 25 years ago and any support we receive in delivering these values is very much appreciated."
Our Promise to Anyone who Donates
Ryde Saints FC are Charter Standard, which means the Football Association has approved our administration and conduct as being of the highest standard. We have a code of conduct which is strictly enforced, and are run by passionate volunteers and a diligent committee who meet regularly. No one is paid wages or expenses, so our promise to you is that every penny we receive will be gratefully received and carefully spent.
We also have a series of rewards that we hope will tempt you into some extra generosity so be sure to take a look on the rewards page.
Thank you for reading about our project.