The AFA have gained planning permission for their big clubhouse project aimed at addressing the island’s ‘appalling’ quality and quantity of sporting facilities.
It is a project that promises to provide much-needed sporting and social opportunities for the whole island – not just footballers.
The AFA are now pushing to get over the line with their fundraising bid of £155,650 – most of which they then hope to see matched by the Football Foundation – by next March.
Atkins, the visionary leader of the project, said that they have now raised £103,000 and this could rise to £145,000 once promised funds are added and two outstanding grants are approved.
‘If you were in an Icelandic village, you would have lots more facilities than we have,’ he said.
‘The club definitely needs better winter training, but we have not got the facilities – training facilities are appalling in the winter here.
‘It’s not just for football – it’s for the whole island.’
Last weekend’s hosting of Rangers U18s at Mount Hale demonstrated the problems caused by inadequate changing room provisions, prompting Atkins to say: ‘They should not be changing in the same room – we have got to get extra changing rooms.’
Early plans involve making sure changing facilities comply with safeguarding policy, together with upgrading visitor and spectator accommodation and making extra storage space.
The AFA hope the improved facilities will create a new revenue stream – and then, after that, they will be eligible to build a new sports hall.
This will benefit the gamut of sports that have no local facilities whatsoever.
Next week, the AFA are holding a meeting to find out who would be interested in using the new clubhouse and later the sports hall.
Yet they are still pushing on with their fundraising and if they are to go ahead with the sports hall, Atkins estimates a hefty additional price tag of £650,000 for that. Over 75% of funds raised so far have originated from outside Alderney and Atkins is extremely grateful for that.
You can email Reg Atkins at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to help.