The following is a joint statement from Frome Town Council, Frome Town Holdings and our football club board. The statement is in regards to securing the long term future of the club at our Badgers Hill home.
Frome Town Council and Frome Town Football Club have signed a deal to help secure the football ground as a community asset. The deal, worth just over £300k, pays off a third-party lender. In return, the Council will have the option to buy the ground for £1 at any point over the next twelve months. The next step will be for the Council to work with the club to explore how a new business plan can be put in place that will benefit both the club and the wider community.
Frome Town Football Club is part of the history of Frome and at the heart of our local community.
The Men’s first team plays at a high level in Southern League Division One South, whilst boasting a strong Women’s team, a development academy and a powerchair football team. Additionally providing playing opportunities for 600 children and adults of all ages. The club is also very active with a range of local charities, community activities and events.
Town Councillor Mel Usher said, “The land at Badgers Hill, home of Frome Town Football Club, was mortgaged to an out-of-town lender. There was an immediate risk to the site, which could have led to the club becoming homeless and going out of existence. The club directors asked Frome Town Council for its support to secure the land as an asset for the community whilst also giving the football club some breathing space to explore future options collaboratively with the Town Council.”
The site as a football ground requires investment. Many of the buildings and structures need renovation or replacement. Possibilities for the future include a community buy out, maximising the site usage and significant grant applications for improvements. Let me be crystal clear, Frome Town Council does not want to own or run a football club. This is a holding situation on the land and ground and sometime in the not-too-distant future we would anticipate our investment being returned. However, for the moment, we are able to secure the site from immediate threat and will continue to work with the club in partnership to explore all options moving forward.”
Derek Graham, Chairman of Frome Town Football Club said, “We are grateful for the Council’s support, as we look to build the foundations of the club to be here for another 100 years. From the moment we approached the Council they have been very open and constructive in all our exploratory discussions. With so many football clubs in difficult financial positions across the country, it’s our responsibility to make sure the club minimises its risk, continues to grow and remains at the heart of our wonderful community for a long time to come.”
Frome Town Council: Frome Town Football Club:
Peter Wheelhouse, Deputy Town Clerk, Gary Collinson, Secretary
Frome Town Council Frome Town AFC Limited