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Club Statement - Perranwell AFC

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When you’re fighting to stay in the game like many others, you don’t expect to have to be fighting your own village too........

Club Statement:
Following months of criticism and a continuous battle to even exist from a minority, the Club as a whole would like to make parishioners aware of our situation in the village and our aims.
We are a self-sufficient organisation who was formed about 100 years ago and has played at the King George V Memorial Playing Field for the majority of those years. At present and for many many years, we have paid our rent to the Parish Council for the use of the field. We also pay a rent to the Village Hall Committee for land on which the Clubhouse stands. All monies that the club relies upon to exist are made from the bar takings, voluntary contributions from spectators and teas on a matchday. Referees fees, insurances, affiliations and materials/equipment for the maintenance of the pitch all have to be covered by ourselves and are extremely costly.
We currently have two men’s teams which play in the Cornwall FA Trelawney League and the St Pirans League. For 11 years we ran a very successful youth team and managed to run two teams for a few seasons. These were run by voluntary coaches who gave up a lot of their time every weekend to offer a sporting provision to the youth of the village and neighbouring villages and was offered at a very low membership fee to cover costs and allow inclusion for all – over half the price of other local clubs. At the last season that both teams were running, there were over 40 youth members.
We have always helped maintain the field and worked alongside other groups to allow all users of the field to benefit from the facilities. Recently we wanted to invest in new goalposts which we did at a cost to ourselves of over £3000. This was achieved through crowd funder fundraising.
Unfortunately we would not be able to cover the costs should one of the new goals get damaged, hence they are put away following each match. We understand that there was disappointment by a parent that the new goals could not be used by children of the Parish, but it was always agreed that we would be putting a post back up beside the main field purely for that use. It has always been the situation that the posts are taken down at the end of the season to allow the grass to be reseeded and to maintain the field. Although the football club has been successful in fundraising for limited improvements this season, longer term more substantial improvements for both the wider community and the football club could be enabled by the club and the Parish Council working in partnership to pursue Football Association/Sport England grants. These funding pots are substantial and could provide a broad range of opportunities to improve the activity facilities at the playing field, for the benefit of the whole community.
We have also recently been gifted two concrete shelters by Cornish Concrete Products, which we will be able to use on a Saturday as dug outs, but will be there for the use of the community as a whole – we have all spent many a time in the park as parents in the rain and think a sheltered bench would be a benefit to many! The football club has been in discussion with the Parish Council for over a year regarding the provision of the dugout shelters. It is a Football Association regulation requirement for a club playing at our level to provide such shelter for both teams, and they are required to accommodate a minimum of 8 players each, hence their size. We are grateful to the Parish for their support in agreeing to allow us to have the shelters. The exceptionally generous sponsorship of Cornish Concrete Products, will allow the community to benefit from a robust purpose built asset that would otherwise have cost in excess of £6,000. This can only be a positive for both the community and the football club.
As a club we are following the rules. We have always paid the rent. We have always maintained the pitch and have applied a verti drainage system to improve the grass for everybody’s use – a kind donation from the PC was given toward this when we initially paid for it, but not for further applications which have been covered by ourselves. The youth team in its final season trained and played their matches at a college due to the facilities that we had to offer not being on a par with that of the other youth teams in the league.
Last Saturday we counted over 10 children playing in the park – 8 of these were the children of players/spectators. There were approx 20 spectators, (can be a lot more if not for Covid)– the majority of whom live in the village and a few who have watched for decades and is their only social interaction for the week. The field is left clean and tidy the full car park is left empty once again. However, it feels as though the minority are intent on spoiling the enjoyment for others and have a personal mission to take away a part of the village that has been there for decades, IS enjoyed by many of the parishioners and, in this day and age where we are all encouraged to be fit and healthy, offers a sporting outlet for anyone who wishes to join in. We are not a stand-alone entity and links with other groups/members in the community are very important. We are very proud to have links with the Royal British Legion who hold their monthly meetings at the Clubhouse, are all members of the football club and who were the sponsors of the youth team for a number of years. We are not squatters as we have been previously called, we are not wanting to take ownership of the field and we are not disobeying the rules!
A handful of people give up hours of their time each week to maintain the pitch, to fill out all of the necessary paperwork which is ever increased during Covid, to put up the ropes, to mark the lines, to clean the clubhouse and the changing rooms…the list goes on. But to then continuously hear that we are being knocked, criticised and a general campaign to oust us is becoming increasingly debilitating. Can we not all just co-exist and continue to enjoy what makes this village a great village? Too many groups and organisations are dying a very fast death – let’s all just work together to keep everything that this village has alive!
We would love to restart a Saturday morning youth drop-in session with the aim of building a youth team, but need more coaches. If you are interested in training to be a coach we can support you and put you through the courses – we’d love to hear from you!
On behalf of the Committee, Perranwell AFC
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