Despite running for over 25 years, the Treharris Athletic Minis and Juniors FC has never had a facility of its own. So when the club were given the opportunity to revive an old and overgrown ground, they enlisted the help of the crowd along with Sport Wales.
Based in Treharris, a small town and community in Wales, the Treharris Athletic Minis and Juniors Football Club provides a safe and fun environment for children and young people to play football. Made up of teams ranging from under 6s through to under 16s, the club is a pivotal part of the community, having started over 25 years ago.
Though, in all those years, the club has never had its own facility or a place to call home, playing instead at Treharris Park or the Waun in Quakers Yard. After being elected as Chairman of the club in 2020, Keiron Jones set out to give the young players a base so they could be proud of where they train and play. Plus, if they were based in the village, friends and family could easily come to give the members the support and encouragement they need to thrive during matches. The dream was to revitalise The Athletic, a condemned ground with over 100 years of history right in the heart of the Treharris community.
The club’s committee and coaches, made up entirely of volunteers, worked tirelessly to secure a lease for the ground from the council, successfully challenging an attempt to earmark the pitch for housing development.
They raised funds through grant applications and other fundraising ventures to purchase a storage container and a mower to start bringing the pitch back to life. They upgraded the fence, installed a new entrance gate, removed brambles and weeds, and cleared the car park!
But their money only stretched so far and soon they needed to secure additional funding to complete the pitch improvements, build changing rooms for the 170 players, and create a communal room to hold meetings, educational courses, and coaching sessions. To get them off to a good start, they set up a Crowdfunder to raise at least £5,000.
Keiron explained, “Crowdfunding was something we thought about doing for the past year or so but have been holding off for the ‘right time’. It just so happened that we saw a link with a grant opportunity from Sport Wales and thought that now was the time to do it. We didn’t expect to hit the target we set initially, but thought there’s no harm in setting a high target as we could always revise it. We were really shocked by the amount raised in the end. It was over and above what we expected!”
He went on to say, “Crowdfunding helped us to get our story out there and enabled the whole community to see the work we have been doing and what we are trying to achieve. It allowed us to engage with the community and grow support for our club and our project. We were pleasantly surprised by the support we had and how invested people have become in the project.”
In 28 days they had smashed their initial target and raised a total of £7,965 from 87 supporters. This included a £1,500 boost from the Sport Wales: A Place for Sport Fund which supports sports clubs or community organisations looking to create, enhance, or redevelop sports facilities for the benefit of the community.
Keiron said, “The funding made a huge difference because as soon as the community knew about the amount we needed to raise to unlock the Sport Wales funding the support grew. The extra funding gave us the boost we needed and has enabled us to place the order on the much needed pitch improvement works which will be starting in the new year. This was the main objective for us, getting the pitch back to a playable standard so the kids can start using it next season, and that will now be a reality!”
He continued, “By getting this pitch back up and running it will give us another facility, a home, in the heart of the community. It will allow us to grow and have more players and we can also host events on the pitch that the whole community can benefit from, such as family fun days, open air cinema nights etc. The Athletic pitch has been used in the community for 100 years, up until the last four or five years where it was left to become overgrown and an eye sore to local residents. Not anymore!”
Needless to say, we’re looking forward to seeing the pitch become a true home for the Treharris Athletic Minis and Juniors Football Club.
After such a successful first experience of crowdfunding and receiving the +Extra funding from Sport Wales, we asked Keiron for his top crowdfunding tips to inspire others out there thinking about starting their own project.
He told us, “A massive help to our crowdfunding efforts were people doing their own fundraising attempts such as sponsored runs or raffles etc. This then got paid into our crowdfunding page which gave us big boosts in funding. We also spread the word using social media and gave regular updates of how much we had raised to date and how far away we were from our target. This, more than anything, kept us fresh in people’s minds and attracted more support and pledges.”
Thinking about crowdfunding for your sports facilities? Find out if you could be eligible to receive up to £15,000 from Sport Wales!