Why GILLINGHAM TOWN FOOTBALL CLUB
Gillingham Town Football Club
Gillingham Town FootBall Club is the oldest in Dorset and one of the oldest in the UK, having been founded in 1879. We currently have 5 teams registed with Dorset FA, we are a fully affiliated club.
Our 1st team is currently playing in the Dorset Premier League, we have applied for promotion to the NLS, step 6 level, we are hoping that we will get into the Western league, we were in their premier division a few seasons ago, we had to drop out to concentrate on the new ground, but we are now ready to start back up the league structure.
Our reserves are in the Dorset league, division 1, here our short term plan is to get them promoted to the DPL, then after that depends on how high up the leagues the 1st team gets.
We have a ladies team in the Dorset Ladies league, this season we have nearly 30 ladies registered with us, so we will be staring a second team in the Dorset Ladies recreational league.
We have 2 walking football teams, one of which is disabled, we have started this in partnership with Dorset mind. We are not currently in a walking Fotball league, recreational only at present, there is one available in Dorset. The initial year was very prominising, we had two one hour sessions on a Friday, and we were considering a third session, likely to have been on a Sunday morning. Both teams have been effected by the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our players are considered vunerable, we had players in their late 80's taking part, and we are not currenty able to use the indoor venue at the local leisure centre. We have been using a warm up pitch at our main ground, with a maximun of 6 players, but this ground is grass, and very wet, with no lighting available. This is something we are very keen to push on with, as all players have told us of the benifits this sport has given them, not just the fitness, but the social contact. Normally the minimum age for walking football is 50, we have been accepting anyone over 18, and have had fathers with their sons, and daughters, playing, Walking football is a non contact sport so can be mixed.
We moved to WoodWater just on two seasons ago, the previous ground, Hardings lane, which we still retain, is on a one year renewable contract, so no finance is available due to the short tenure. WoodWater has a 30 year leaise. Hardings Lane is also a very wet pitch, being on very heavy clay, with many game cancellations during the winter.
WoodWater was to have solved all of our problems, as mentioned above, the pitch was not completed whe we moved in. The list of isues we have found has been very long. The club has already had to invest some £60K just to be able to play football. We still have a long way to go, and we are hoping for sponsorship to help us. Our biggest current expense is going to be Floodlighting, we already have planning permision, and they will be a requirement for promotion. We will get Football Foundation funding, they will pay 70% of the cost, provided out 1st team get promoted, but we have to find the rest. Pitch drainage is even more pressing. We have just found out our drainage is compromised, we have investagations ongoing as to how to resolve this.
With Floodlights we can look to have an under 18 team.
We are also looking to build a larger clubhouse, what we have we had to provide very quicky, as one was not provided as part of the ground, and without a clubhouse we would not get a ground grading. It is a prefab and is not suitable for long term use.
We are currently looking at build options so as to have an idea of costs, planning permission is already in place.