A LLAY football club has netted a huge financial boost for their ambitious ground improvement plans after a hat trick of generous donations from construction firms.
Llay Miners Welfare FC, the club which produced former Wrexham and Spurs striker Chris Armstrong, is planning a new enclosure for their ground which would move them closer to top level status in Wales and provide a new revenue stream.
Club president and former player Vaughan Parry said the £3,000 donated by a group treble of Hollingsworth Group, Bellway and Anwyl Homes, was ‘a game changer’ for the Welsh National Premier League side.
The cash boost has paid for a 132-metre, anti-climb, plastic-coated metal fence with two gates, which will enable the volunteer-run club to create a secure perimeter for the first time in its 89-year history.
Vaughan, who works as a contract manager for Gap Personnel and lives in Llay, said the club’s management team had been working hard for 12 years to transform its facilities.
His son is the fourth generation of the family to play for club, founded in 1931, whose ultimate aim is to reach the elite level of their league but to manage this, they needed to invest and upgrade the facilities.
He said: “We managed to raise the money to build the stand, create a walkway around the pitch and install a kitchen area for half-time refreshments.
“But the one thing which we haven’t been able to achieve and we have been talking about for such a long time now, is to create an actual stadium with secure fencing all the way round.
“This fencing is a game-changer for us. It has given us the massive new boost we have been looking for and it really does mean so much to us.
“It means we can now look at the pitch and grounds with pride. It is a huge step towards creating more of a professional feel to the club which will put us on a much more even footing with other teams in the league.”
Also there to congratulate the club on their cash boost was Llay Councillor Rob Walsh who said: “Llay Miners Welfare FC is run primarily on the hard work and good will of its members and so getting such a terrific financial boost to do something on this scale is a real plus.
“I would like to say thank you to the three companies involved for investing in what is such a great club and so well thought of in the Llay community.
“Any additional funding the club gets, I know will be of great value to them and the future of this terrific community organisation.”
The sponsorship boost has had another positive impact too as Vaughan explained.
He said: “Because of the added security the fencing will give, it means we can leave our goals and nets up on a permanent basis which will save our dedicated volunteers time on match days and free them up to carry on with the other weekly tasks we have to do to keep the club going.
“Crucially, what it also does, is that we can now start to charge a small amount on the gate on match days.
“It won’t be much, just a £1 or two, but this will create a vital new revenue stream and this will provide funding towards much needed equipment and fees which we need to keep all three of our teams going.
“Before now, because the pitch is so open, we have had no real way of monitoring or controlling spectators on match days. The fencing will change all this because there will be limited access points and volunteers will be able to stand on those gates to collect the entry fees as people go in.
“We are absolutely chuffed to bits to have this support from Hollingsworth Group, Bellway and Anwyl Homes and we cannot thank them enough.”
The three construction firms are working together on a new development of 360 homes at Home Farm on Gresford Road in Llay.
Llay Miners Welfare FC Commercial Manager Gavin Davies and Chairman Keiron Fox approached Hollingsworth Group Managing Director Paul Hollingsworth to ask for help with the club’s sponsorship.
Paul, whose construction, civil engineering and property development firm is based in Sandycroft, Flintshire, said: “Their passion and commitment for Llay Miners Welfare FC really, really impressed me.
“They give up so much free time for the club and care deeply about strengthening its future and developing it for the young players coming through in their Colt team.
“I just felt it was extremely admirable and so we all got together and felt the £3,000 was something we could reach for them as a partnership and make a real difference for the club and the Llay community.”
David Williams, Managing Director for Bellway Homes North West, said: “It’s been fantastic to offer this investment to Llay Miners Welfare FC and hear about how valuable it has been for them.
“It is a club which is clearly held in great esteem by its players, management and fans and we are delighted to have played our part in making a difference to their facilities.
“There’s a lot of hard work which goes on the background to support the club and we felt that they thoroughly deserved our support to contribute towards their ambitious and admirable plans for its continued success and future.”
Managing director of Anwyl Homes Cheshire and North Wales, Phil Dolan, said:
“We were pleased to be able to help Llay Miners Welfare FC with a donation towards the improvement of their facilities; the passion and ambition from all members of the club, to develop the team and create more of a stadium experience for visitors, is evident and we wish them all the very best for the future.”
Llay Miners Welfare FC share their pitch with the local cricket team. Vaughan explained how the new fencing had been chosen because it is non-permanent and easy to erect at the start of the football season and then taken down for the start of the summer when the cricket team take over.