By Jordan A Jones
A NORTH Wales football club is using public exercise to raise funds which will help preserve its future.
Saltney Town Sports, a club based in Wrexham, have come up with an initiative which will help fans keep fit as well as keep the club afloat during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The club have applied for the Tier Three Licence, a requirement which Saltney Town must have if they are to continue playing in the third tier of Welsh football.
The only way they will do that is by increasing the level of facilities at their Sandy Lane home but with improvements come at a cost.
As part of the Welsh government’s allowance of a few sessions of exercise a day, the club is encouraging those involved in the club and the Welsh football community to use that hour to fundraise for the club which will help go towards those costs.
“The fundraiser was originally and basically desperate plea,” revealed club chairman Darren Meredith.
“I knew we would have nowhere else really to go to raise any funds, and it just took off and the donations came flooding in.
“I was hoping if we could get anywhere near £1k, I’d get to work on making that stretch as much as we could.
“Jake Gibbons, now in his last year at the club before retirement touched the nerve of the lads he’s earned so much respect from as player, manager, assistant and combo of all over the years.
“He touched the nerve how he knew he could – a fitness challenge to the self-titled beast squad.”
It’s a campaign which has worked in Saltney’s favour having raised more than its £5k target, with most of that being achieved the space of five days of launching.
It is a campaign which will help meet those standards ahead of the middle of June deadline, which has been moved three times since the coronavirus pandemic.
Given the fast-growing support of the club, the Saltney Town chairman was pleased with the response when the club called for the local community to back their aims.
He said: “The general public backing is like nothing any of us within the club have seen before, and it’s actually due to these times I think that it has actually had that backing.
“With the pandemic ongoing our usual fundraisers just could not happen, and without any money coming in to put into the ground it would genuinely be on a knife-edge.
“It’s not just criteria, we need an overhaul of the changing rooms which is in need of repairs, and we need to keep improving playing surfaces and equipment for the good of the Juniors as well.
“I think people can see where we genuinely were at, and have thrown in their support in droves to keep this club not only going, but growing.”
The Flintshire club has shown its perseverance having had a number of hurdles to overcome during their ten years of existence.
In August 2019, it was revealed the club had to payout £5,000 on repair works of their Sandy Lane ground, due to vandalism and theft.
The resulting damage saw 14 seats out of the 50 seater-stand broken, making it harder for the club to achieve the 100-seater requirement set by the FAW.
When asked if the Coronavirus has hampered their application, Meredith responded: “Massively, not only has it put the brakes on works, effected funding, but our application which was due in for the balance of Grant awarded by the WGI when works are completed has obviously been knocked back further.
“It essentially refunds mostly what we’ve paid out, and with circumstances out of our control meaning the contractors have not been cutting the green space around our area, with us doing our best to upkeep it, some weeks we’ve had to really on our volunteers filling petrol cans up with an I Owe You from the club.
“More than anything, as for everyone, this difficult time has robbed us all of hours of entertainment and enjoyment from the beautiful game we all love, and spending time together.”
Players and supporters have been logging their mileage through the Strava app, before making a donation to the club. To see more of what Saltney Town Sports are doing, visit their GoFundMe page which is taking most of the donations.