A message from the Redditch United Chairman, David Faulkner, as he seeks new investment.
Since taking control of the club nearly three years ago, the development of Redditch United has shocked many people in football, in our town and I must admit, me too!
From a club that made consistent losses and facilities that required some immediate attention, we now host more than 1,000 people playing football every week on our 3G and have weekly stadium footfall in excess of 6,000.
Over the last three years, we have made a number of capital investments. Each investment has been made to make us more commercially and environmentally sustainable. Investments in air conditioning, LED floodlights and an education building have all cost money but these will all help us deliver against our targets over the coming years. Due to this and the recruitment of a range of specialist staff, we have created new revenue streams that are enabling us to make the club financially stable and demonstrating consistent growth.
It was clear that the club needed a long-term strategy to become financially stable and that new revenue streams were essential, utilising the potential of our facility here in Redditch. We needed a strategy to make Redditch United an essential hub for our community providing far more than just entertainment on match days.
Delivering education programmes remains a key pillar of our growth. During this academic year we have hosted full-time education programmes for more than 70 people and our innovative partnership with the Heart of Birmingham Vocational College means we are the only football club in the country to deliver a SEND education provision at their main stadium. As part of this partnership, we recently hosted the Midlands’ first ever pan-disability football festival bringing SEND learners together from colleges from across the region.
Our strategy was one that would enable us to develop our footprint and impact in Redditch. Our newly established school links in the district have enabled us to offer coaching and activity programmes to more than a dozen local schools engaging with over 5000 school children this year. During school holidays these local children have been kept busy and welcomed to the stadium for holiday camps. Alongside our camps we have managed to secure funding to deliver Holiday and Food (HAF) camps which provide free activities for local children who are eligible for free school meals. These camps have gone beyond just sport and have also included educational art classes with a local partner provider.
Redditch United now have a diverse representation of over 600 registered players which includes our juniors, women’s and pan disability teams. We are also home to England’s walking football community who train and play international fixtures at the stadium, bringing people from around the world to Redditch. Managing a football club like any other business is all about balance. These achievements have been balanced alongside the ambitions of our men’s first team who this season achieved their highest league finish in 7 years.
Off the field, credit needs to go to my fellow board members Wayne McCormack and Zeta Hewings. Their company, Zoo Accounting, joined the club as principal sponsors in my first year as chairman and they loved the direction and ambition so much that they approached me about investing personally. That investment was integral to us building the new classrooms and developing the business systems that help us to effectively manage the huge growth.
We are now in a position where, to take the club to the next level more quickly, we are seeking fresh investment. There are a number of opportunities that we have to help move the club forward instantly that we cannot take advantage of without additional capital. We have secured planning permission for a new education building allowing us to deliver more full-time programmes, extra curricular activities and specialist holiday schemes. We have a full marketing strategy to help boost our functions, events and match day attendances. These are both easy wins that will bring instant rewards against our targets.
Investment in many other football clubs would mean providing additional funds to the first team budget, but we see this is a short-sighted view. Our plan is to develop the club, giving it long-term sustainability to develop things both on and off the pitch. Investment in Redditch United would also mean investing in the community, providing opportunities for all, benefiting future employability and being part of 130 years of rich history.
The exciting part of Redditch United is the future potential. Over the past three years we have managed to double our home attendances, double our education provision, and create new community and commercial departments. We are situated in a town of nearly 90,000 people so the potential for future growth is there. We are keen to speak to any other potential investors who would like to join us on our journey that is not only developing our club, but also the town of Redditch too.