Fundraising appeal launched to help Alnwick Town Juniors FC

Community support is helping Alnwick Town Juniors get back on their feet following major storm damage.

Thursday, 23rd December 2021, 9:00 am
Repairs being carried out at Alnwick Town Juniors.
Repairs being carried out at Alnwick Town Juniors.

Its newly-built clubhouse at Greensfield was virtually destroyed in the near-100mph winds which battered Northumberland last month.

Its roof was blown off and landed on the nearby 3G pitches which has put them out of action too.

However, sterling work by volunteers should mean the pitches are available again after Christmas.

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And a fundraising campaign has been launched to help the club through a tough period when its income has dried up.

Trustee Paul Davidson said: "The clubhouse is in quite an exposed spot so there was nothing to break the force of the wind.

"It hit the gable end of the building and worked the flashing off the side and then the sheet metal roofing. As soon as it got a little bit loose, it ripped the whole roof off like the sail of a ship and crashed through a metal fence and landed on our new all-weather pitch.

"We’re talking about 10 tonnes of weight on that roof structure lifted off in one go. All the timber lats were still attached to the metal roof sheets so the force of it has been unbelievable.”

He continued: “Because the roof came off, all the snow and rain that followed got in and it’s wrecked the entire building. There was two inches of water in there by the time we were able to go and check on the damage. So the whole place needs to be stripped back to the timber and rebuilt.”

The clubhouse only opened in June following a six year project which cost in the region of £1.1 million.

"The clubhouse building itself was about £350,000,” said Paul. “It was a real labour of love to get up and running so to see it pretty much wrecked has been hard to see.”

Their insurance company is processing the damage to the pitches and buildings as two separate claims.

"We’ve been able to crack on with trying to clear the pitch,” said Paul. “A team of volunteers has cut up the roof damage and removed it and we’ve had some specialist machinery from the company which built the pitch which acts like a giant hoover to make sure it is clean.

"We’ve also cut down the section of fencing destroyed and made it safe so we can get using the pitch again as soon as possible, hopefully after Christmas.”

The facilities are used by 25 teams from Alnwick Town Juniors, as well as for five-a-sides, by the Newcastle United Foundation and Duchess’s Community High School.

It will be months, however, before the clubhouse is repaired.

"They have to repair the building and dry it out and then it will be a 16 week refurbishment so realistically it’s probably going to be the back end of the summer before it’s back in use.

"That’s where the fundraising campaign comes in. We weren’t covered for loss of earnings and we’d expected December to be a big month for us with lots of functions booked.

"We’ve lost all of that but we’ve still got outgoings like standing orders for gas and electricity and the lease for the kitchen equipment so any extra raised through appeals like this all help.”