Welcome to 'From The Sideline', the new feature showcasing successful funding stories from Derbyshire Clubs!
We know how difficult it is to run a football club, and that's what we know it's important to share news around funding opportunities in order to help your club thrive.
In this new series of articles, you will hear from clubs who have benefitted from the funding schemes we have helped them to access, in particular, our Club Retention Fund.
The Derbyshire FA Club Retention Fund was released in line with the Retain The Game funding scheme. It was designed to help Derbyshire's male teams further, with £300 per team available for clubs who applied and fit the set criteria.
For this article, we asked Hepthorne Lane, whose First Team play in the Chesterfield and District Sunday Football League, to talk about their experience to help raise awareness of the possibilities that are available for our clubs.
How has the Club Retention Fund benefited your club?
Receiving the Retention Fund has been crucial within the development of our club and has resulted in the formation of, not only a new under 9’s team, but also two under 7’s teams, all playing under the Hepthorne Lane badge and the Charter Standard banner. We’ve also formed a new juniors subcommittee with their joint views being cascaded upwards to the main committee where they also have representation and input.
What has the club spent the funding on?
The club have observed a need for junior football locally and as a result have welcomed yet another under 7’s team to the fold. The money has funded the purchase of training goalposts, nets, balls and other training equipment.
Do you have any advice for other clubs looking to apply for funding pots like the Club Retention Fund?
Undoubtedly. We've never seemed to fit into the accepted format for a Sunday League club with players paying NO subs. From its rebirth in 1984, it was decided that ‘you don’t have to pay to play’ and all funding would come from a separate fund raising committee which still happens to this day.
We have a great relationship with the local Parish Council who have supported the club with yearly grants and as a result we have been active in numerous collaborative projects including the installation of a defibrillator including an official training programme at our local pub, involvement with the local community association, organising community events and hosting a Christmas Party for all local children.
We also hosted an FA First Aid Course and invited members from other local football teams to attend – free of charge.
Previously, clubs would go out and attempt to secure sponsorship from various business sources and - although these are still obtainable for sponsored kit etc. - it still fails to generate the funding required to secure a sustainable balance so, why not try your local County Councillors who have at their discretion a Community Fund or why not try the Derbyshire County Council Action Grants Programme or other funding pots that are advertised.
Why not have a go? Remember, if you don't succeed first time, there's always another opportunity. Why not try applying for the Tesco Blue Token Scheme within your local area? Many junior teams have used this scheme to generate extra funding.
Finally, attach yourself to a local pub – the place we call home. Make sure you support them and not just on a Sunday after the match. We are fortunate to have such a great home base and run a ‘beer raffle’ and two ‘bonus ball’ draws every week plus large Christmas/Easter Raffles and a ‘Last Man Standing’ through our Facebook account.
Become involved with the local community and they will become involved with you, guaranteeing involvement within the lotteries and fund raising.
How have Derbyshire County FA helped your club?
We've had a long standing relationship with Derbyshire FA and have looked for advice from them on many occasions, including the hosting of a DCFA First Aid Course, playing pre-season games in other countries, help in securing Charter Standard status and the assistance required to manoeuvre through the Whole Game System in pre-season.
We would suggest to you all to do the same, the advice is free of charge and they're a relatively friendly bunch - so make use of them.