AFC Portchester hoping for £25k ‘brilliant boost’ towards new covered terrace and a memorial garden
AFC Portchester are hoping it’s a case of third time lucky as they bid for a ‘brilliant boost’ towards stadium improvements.
The Royals are in with a chance of winning £25,000 worth of funding from FA Vase and Trophy sponsors Buildbase.
Twenty five clubs from steps 3-6 of the non-league pyramid have been chosen for inclusion in the Buildbase Community Club Award scheme.
Three clubs from steps 3-4 - who compete in the Trophy - and three from steps 5-6 - who compete in the Vase - will be invited to submit a presentation to a panel including officials from both Buildbase and the Football Association.
There will be one winner from each section, each collecting £25,000 worth of building materials.
Portchester have twice previously got down to the last three and been invited to Wembley to give their presentation, and twice they have missed out.
This year, it is not yet known - due to Covid restrictions - if the presentations will be either online or once again at the national stadium.
At present, the public can vote on the Buildbase website for their chosen club. The club with the most votes from those at steps 3-4 and the one with most votes at steps 5-6 - Portchester’s category - will get a ‘Golden Ticket’ to the final three.
If successful, Portchester know exactly how they will use their £25,000 worth of Buildbase materials - there is no cash prize - to improve The Crest Finance Stadium.
There are plans to build a covered terrace behind the goal furthest away from the car park, and enhance the main stand.
The Royals are also keen to create a memorial garden behind the far goal with plaques, benches and stone memorials.
Vice-chairman Graham Moir told The News: ‘It’s always been part of our plans to put a covered terrace behind the far goal.
‘It would be at least the same size as the one next to the grandstand - that’s worked well for us.
‘’We have been getting bigger and bigger crowds and I would say social distancing is going to be with us for a long time.
‘With that in mind, we have said we’d use the materials to construct a covered terrace. In time, that would connect with other improvements.’
They include building a terrace opposite the main stand, where at present there are only the two dug-outs.
If Portchester win the £25,000, there are also plans to make the seats in the main stand a bit higher, affording better views.
The memorial garden would be situated near the orchard behind the far goal, and would be an area where people could remember loved ones.
In addition to remembering those associated with the club - such as former chairman Steve Woods, who passed away recently - Moir said they would also look to honour Portchester’s war heroes from two world wars and the Falklands conflict.
‘We would also want to remember those we lost due to Covid and the volunteers and the NHS who helped out during that time,’ Moir added.
To be included as one of the 25 clubs, Portchester had to explain what they have done as a club for the community during the pandemic.
They were able to point to the Covid Support Group set up last spring, which included a Food Pantry before it moved to the town’s Methodist Church.
Gosport Borough are the only other Hampshire club among the 25, and they will be aiming for the £25,000 prize on offer to clubs at steps 3-4.
Boro have certainly been helping their community during a succession of lockdowns - their ‘Feed a Family in Need’ scheme winning national recognition.
Both Portchester and Gosport have some catching up to do to win their respective ‘Golden Tickets’. As of this morning, Portchester had over 200 votes, while United Counties League club Whittlesey Athletic boasted 773.
Gosport were yet to receive a vote, while Pontefract Colleries have obviously been spreading the word well – they have over 7,000!
To vote for Portchester or Gosport Borough, visit https://landing.buildbase.co.uk/pitch-in-your-support/