FA VASE winners Sholing have secured £400,000 of funding for a new clubhouse and changing room complex at their Silverlake Arena home.
The Boatmen, still on a high from their 1-0 Wembley win over West Auckland, have been awarded a £150,000 slice of the Football Stadia Improvement Fund plus a Football Foundation Facilities Fund grant worth £100,000.
In addition the Portsmouth Road-based VT Sports Ground stadium, which also houses Old Netley Cricket Club, will benefit from two £50,000 grants from 11v 11 and Sport England’s Inspired Facilities Fund, plus a £50,000 English Cricket Board loan.
Ground owners, VT Sports Club, will contribute £100,000 of their own towards the project which will hopefully be completed this side of Christmas.
To reduce costs, the new clubhouse/changing rooms will be housed in a modular building costing around £450,000, rather than a permanent structure which would have set them back over £1m.
“Rather than bricks and mortar, it will be a modular facility which will be lifted onto a platform. The actual finish is superb,” explained Sholing chairman Dave Diaper.
“It reduces the building costs and, if there were to be any future development of the ground, it could be moved elsewhere.
“It means we’ve had to go back for a change of council planning permission and we’ve put the revised drawings in for approval. We need to make sure the building is aesthetically pleasing.
“But it’s better from a cost point of view and the good thing with a modular facility is that it only takes about six weeks to build from start to finish.”
The Southern League-bound Sydenhams Wessex champions also plan to install a £400,000 3G pitch, for which £150,000 has already been set aside. They are now seeking investors to secure shares in the development.
“Everyone knows the potential for hiring out a 3G pitch so this is a unique opportunity for investors to make money,” said Diaper.
The FA’s provisional league structures for 2014/15 have been released, placing Sholing back in the Southern One South & West after a one-year absence.
Joining them are local rivals AFC Totton and Bashley, both relegated from the Southern Premier, Western League champions Larkhall Athletic, their FA Vase fifth round opponents, and Hellenic Premier champions Wantage Town.