Updated: Nov 15
A local charity has handed over its biggest ever single donation to help non-league football
club FC Hartlepool enhance their offering across the community.
The PFC Trust, which aims to improve the lives and life chances of the people across the area, has given a £42,000 development grant to the ambitious Northern League outfit.
The substantial cash injection has already helped the club to part-fund the six new floodlights it required to play following promotion last season.
And FC Hartlepool has significant plans to use the rest of the money to accommodate a further 200 spectators under covered seating, introduce disabled access by January and build a service hut on the 3G surface.
There are also plans firmly underway to make special upgrades to the club’s hospitality offering inside and outside after receiving the grant from the PFC Trust on top of what they had received from the Football Foundation inclusive of the Premier League Stadia Fund.
Salaam Shaheen, FC Hartlepool’s chairman, said: “It is fantastic for the club to have received this infrastructure grant because we have created a social and sporting hub that will service the locals and wider communities for generations to come.
“The PFC Trust have believed in what we are doing so have kindly supported the next phase of what we are trying to achieve which is to make this place bigger and better; ultimately self-sustainable going forward.
“We cannot under-estimate the impact that the invaluable support we have had from the PFC Trust – and the Football Foundation - will have. Sic itur ad astra.”
As well as providing a platform for young footballers to develop their talent and enjoy themselves from under-4s to semi-professional, FC Hartlepool have opened the gates at their Grayfields home on a regular basis since taking over the site in 2021.
Numerous charity events have been held at Grayfields, including fundraisers for Army Veterans, the Bradley Lowery Foundation and schools’ events.
There have also been festivals and local Sunday league action and cup finals, resulting in the Pavilion Bar gaining in popularity and becoming a well-used event space – and that is in line with the PFC Trust’s ethos.
Frances Connolly, who founded the charity in 2019, said: “The reason we chose FC Hartlepool to receive the development grant this year was because we are so proud of what they have done as a club.
“The team at FC Hartlepool have created a community hub here at this facility and we feel they are worthy recipients following on from grants we have handed out to other groups like the Dodgeball Centre and Hartlepool Divers' Association – all doing great work in the community.
“Not only is this somewhere that is providing activity for young people, keeping them mobile and active, it also has a social aspect, keeping children off the streets and preventing them from potentially getting into trouble.
“FC Hartlepool at Grayfields ticks an awful lot of boxes for adding social value, with community groups also running through the day here at the Pavilion Bar.
“And what is great for us is that, like many of our partners, FC Hartlepool has pledged to support the PFC Trust in our campaigns too, so they will look to get involved in our
UChangeLives campaign next September.”
And Chris Murray, the FC Hartlepool facilities manager, said: “This is about making experiences better for everyone who uses FC Hartlepool and the Pavilion Bar. It is not just our team benefitting from the facility.
"Getting into the Northern League was a huge step for us and taking over Grayfields was a huge step back in 2021. The whole project and expense of getting in the Northern League was huge. We have had funding from different areas and the PFC Trust has played a pivotal role in helping us to move forward.”