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Football club stands proud after cash boost

Nadhim Zahawi MP, centre, at the opening of the new stand at Stratford Town with the club’s chairman, Melanie Tweddle, and club director, Denys Shortt. (Submitted photo)
Nadhim Zahawi MP, centre, at the opening of the new stand at Stratford Town with the club’s chairman, Melanie Tweddle, and club director, Denys Shortt. (Submitted photo)

A NEW 94-seat stand at Stratford-upon-Avon Town FC has been officially opened.

Nadhim Zahawi MP was the guest of honour at the official opening last Sunday, 24th April, which took for the form of a Touch FM charity football match raising money for Hatton-based charity, Molly Olly’s Wishes, and the club itself.

The new stand was made possible thanks to a £28,163 grant from the Premier League through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF), the largest funder of non-league football in the country.

The money paid for the creation of three wheelchair spaces, as well as carrying out improvement works to floodlights and dugouts. Toilet facilities and a new covered terrace were also installed thanks to the funding.

It means the DSC Stadium in Tiddington now meets the criteria of the Premier Division of the Southern League.

Mr Zahawi said: “The football club is invaluable to the community. It’s not just the first team but all of the other teams that Stratford Town FC offer. “The success that the senior team has had over the last five years is remarkable and has only helped maintain the profile of our great town.

"The chairman, Melanie Tweddle, has done an extraordinary job in turning this club into the professional unit it is and a big thanks must go to the local community and local businesses like the DCS Group for their generosity.”

Back in 2006 Stratford Town FC received £100,000 from the FSIF and in 2007 the club also received £1m from the Football Foundation, which invests in grassroots football facilities using money from the Premier League, The FA and the Government through Sport England.

Both grants went towards a new third generation (3G) artificial grass pitch (AGP), changing rooms, real grass pitch improvements and floodlights.

The club have also received new goalposts and Grow the Game funding, towards the creation of new teams, from the Foundation.

Melanie added: “I would like to thank everyone for their support in developing the facilities at the DCS Stadium. The funding from the Premier League through the FSIF has made the new stand a reality, and we look forward to the next season where our focus is to continue doing well in the Southern Premier Division.”

Peter McCormick OBE, chairman of the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, said: “Stratford Town FC are a great grassroots club, and I am thrilled to see the new stand officially open. The covered seating, terrace and toilet facilities will provide a safe and comfortable base for players, supporters and all of the club’s members.

"The improvements made to the DCS Stadium mean the club also meet the relevant ground grading criteria, which allows them to continue playing at their current level. The Premier League is dedicated to improving stadia facilities like the stand at Stratford Town FC – without their investment these developments would not be possible.

"I would like to wish the club all the best for the coming years.”

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