Some of you will have seen our recent website announcement that Alnwick Town Juniors FC now have a record number of teams registered to play league football next season. The club will start the 2016/17 season with 18 teams wearing the black and white stripes. This is unprecedented growth for the club and is likely to continue over the next few years.
To that end it is has been essential for us to make some changes to the way that the club is organised. Most of the changes are happening behind the scenes and are focussed around the way the club is financed and operates from an administrative perspective. We will continue to ensure your child can play football in a safe and enjoyable environment and you will see little change to football related activity.
The growth of the club further highlights the need for a dramatic improvement in our facilities. In the immediate term significant work is being undertaken to prepare the pitches at the Greensfield site for next season. Many volunteers have given a great deal of time to this and I thank them for their dedication. The pitches are improving on a daily basis and we should have some excellent playing surfaces for the kids to enjoy next season.
We currently have access to these pitches under licence from Northumberland Estates. This comes at no cost to us and we are extremely grateful that we have been granted permission to use the site.
As important as it is to have access to pitches in the short term our future needs will not be met under the same conditions and we have recently entered discussions with NE to secure a long term lease of the site. This will give us a physical base to plan for the future. Discussions have gone extremely well and I expect something formal to be in place in the coming weeks.
Once the lease is secured we will be able to further advance our facilities proposal with key stakeholders. Over the past few months we have been negotiating with the FA and Northumberland County Council over a £1m project that would see the development of a full size (floodlit) synthetic surface as well as a clubhouse and changing facilities on the Greensfield site.
Both groups have looked upon our proposal favourably and whilst I can in no way promise to deliver this ambitious project I am more confident than ever that it is feasible, and deliverable in the very near future.
It is also worth adding that the aforementioned structural changes we have made were necessary to advance this project to its current phase. Without these changes being implemented we would have had difficulty convincing all financial stakeholders that our club was worthy of significant capital investment.
The pace of change has very much been driven by FA funding timescales. As a consequence we have not communicated as well as we could have over recent weeks but this is something I hope to change as we move forward.
So what has changed? We now have one administrative committee for the club and one bank account. This has enabled us to set a budget and maximise the money available to spend on providing equipment and facilities for our players, both now and in the future. It will, over time, also ensure that coaches can focus on coaching without the additional burden of raising finance independently, buying kit and preparing pitches.
For too long the club has been over reliant on the goodwill of a handful of individual volunteers who become irreplaceable should they decide to leave. Under the new structure everyone will have a defined role, enabling us to build from a sustainable base and absorb the pressures of inevitable future growth.
We will be circulating more information on the roles of our volunteers shortly but in all likelihood much of your regular contact will be through the child’s coach with whom you will already be acquainted. Any non football related queries can be directed through our Secretary Paul Davidson.
In the past we have always attempted to improve the football experience for your children and will continue to do so moving forward. We have two exciting soccer camps to look forward to in the summer in partnership with AC Milan. Preparations for this are underway and you can expect further communications from us over the coming weeks.
These courses will not only benefit the participants but also help develop our coaching staff, some of whom will be taking a critical role in proceedings. I am also pleased to announce that we have been successful in bidding for an FA mentoring programme which will give all our coaches access to development support from experienced FA staff.
As you can see there is a lot going on, none of which would be possible without our fantastic group of volunteers. As volunteers we often get things wrong but rest assured that everyone involved with the club fundamentally has the best interests of the children at heart. If anyone is interested in volunteering, in any capacity, at this exciting time for the club, please don't hesitate to contact me at anytime.
I hope you have found this update useful. I am committed to improving the way we communicate with you in the future and I am happy to take any feedback you may wish to pass on. I thank you all for being part of Alnwick Town Juniors FC and hope you and your children enjoy the summer and are looking forward to the start of next season.
Updated 15:27 - 11 Aug 2016 by Paul Davidson
Chairman - Alnwick Town Juniors FC