Peterborough football club’s £300k clubhouse plans to benefit wider community
A new clubhouse at a Peterborough leisure centre will benefit sports teams and the local community, according to one of the scheme’s backers.
Parkside Athletic Football Club recently submitted an application to the city council for outline planning permission for a ‘hub’ building at Bushfield Leisure Centre in Bushfield, Orton Goldhay.
Its proposals for the new ‘hub’ on council-owned grass near existing pitches would seat around 60 people with facilities including toilets, a mother and toddler changing room, a kitchen and a small office.
The ambitious plans would require £300,000 of funding, according to club chairman Adrian Parrish, but he is hopeful the money would come in should planning permission be granted after being told the Football Foundation should be able to match any contributions.
And he believes the clubhouse would bring wide benefits to the area as it would allow families to stay warm and dry while watching their loved ones play out on the pitches, with the facilities available to other local groups when not being used by the football club.
Adrian said: “We are a grassroots club meaning we take anyone interested in playing football, regardless of ability. Some youngsters even progress on to the academies of league teams, and if they are a good standard, they often leave us to go to other clubs and we’re happy with that. Our job is to enable youngsters to enjoy playing football in a safe environment.
“We’ve found it difficult to shelter families on wet Tuesday nights training or on matchdays at weekends. One thing you can guarantee on a football pitch is the wind always blows which we’ve found discourages people.
“We want to create a safe space for parents, youngsters and carers to watch their kids play football. So on a wet, cold day they could shelter somewhere warm and dry and watch their sons and daughters play football.”
Parkside Athletic have been based at the centre since 2003, driven initially by the desire of Lyn and Malcolm Neale to support their son playing football before expanding to 11 teams (eight youths and three adults) with more than 170 players.
Everyone involved in the club is a volunteer with their time given free of charge. To pursue the clubhouse dream Parkside Athletic set up a ‘future fund’ eight years ago where every player puts in £1 per month - so far this has generated more than £15,000 to launch their aspirations.
With the offer from the Football Foundation to match financial contributions reducing the funding needed to £150,000 Adrian is confident that two-thirds of that target can be reached having already approached local businesses, albeit only if planning permission is granted.
“Everybody thinks this is a really good idea and wants it to work,” he added.
“This is not a wealthy area so for a lot of the kids we support we provide more than just football. We provide a safe space for them to burn off energy.
“We are very much a community football club.
“Our idea is the club will use the hub for training and matchdays, and the rest of the time it can be used by the community. The local cricket club could also use it in the summer.”
Should planning permission be granted, the intention is that the hub would be run as a community interest company by local people.
For more information on the plans, or to volunteer, visit: https://www.parksidehub.co.uk/.