Councillor Ian Block, Mayor of Brightlingsea, and Essex County FA Chief Executive Brendan Walshe recently unveiled Brightlingsea Regent FC’s new ground improvements, a project made possible by investment from the Premier League and delivered by the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF).
The investment has allowed Regent, who play in the Isthmian League Premier Division, to install a new 100-seat covered stand which is fully compliant with current safety legislation. The new stand means the ground now meets the requirements of Grade ‘C’ of the FA National Ground Grading Criteria for their Step Three position.
The club currently runs two adult teams, with their Reserve Team playing in the Eastern Senior League at Step Six. The improvements will also benefit their Under 19s Academy, which runs in partnership with the Colne Community School and plays in the National League Alliance ‘C’ Division.
The project was made possible by a £14,013 grant from the Premier League, which is delivered through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund - the sister organisation of the Football Foundation. The FSIF is funded with £6.5m each year from the Premier League.
It is the country’s largest provider of grants towards projects which help improve the comfort and safety of lower-league football grounds in both the professional and amateur game. These improvements range from new football stands and turnstiles to floodlighting and improved provision for disabled supporters.
Terry Doherty, Chairman of Brightlingsea Regent FC, said: “As a club we are extremely grateful to the FSIF and the Essex Community Initiatives Fund for aiding the club once again in its ongoing stadium improvements. Thanks to both these bodies and our club commercial department we have been able to achieve a Grade ‘C’ ground certificate.”
“This has enabled us to remain at Step 3 on the non-league football pyramid. Our next project will be to extend our dressing rooms to comply with new forthcoming regulations. The new stand means that we can now seat over 250 people under cover, which is fabulous.”
Walshe added: “Huge congratulations go to the club for the work they have put in to undertake this application and improve the ground facilities with the support of the Football Foundation investment. The ground is looking fantastic and the improvements continue to highlight and demonstrate the progression the club is making.”
“Brightlingsea have had a meteoric rise over the last four or five seasons and they have made great strides both on and off the pitch. This is great credit to all the volunteers behind the scenes at the club as this would not have been able to have been achieved without their dedication, commitment and drive to continually improve and progress.”
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