By Ryan Moran
Financial support from local communities has helped football clubs repair thousands of pounds worth of damage caused by anti-social behaviour at grounds across the county.
Staplehurst Monarchs and Lordswood Football Club, to name just two, had damages totalling £3,000 for each club. Both clubs went down the route of community donations with great success, rather than seeking grants available.
The GoFundMe page for Lordswood raised £1,189, having raised £2,271 a year earlier to make up the matchday revenue lost last season due to COVID-19 causing the leagues to be cancelled. Councillors from Gillingham have also pledged to donate £2,000, which Secretary Steve Lewis says is the first donation they have received from local councillors in 13 years.
Staplehurst managed to raise £2,195 on Just Giving to replace the fence panels and dugouts that were damaged over two separate incidents within a week. The football club also received a donation from the local scout’s group as well to help with the costs.
Lordswood have since replaced and upgraded their CCTV, free of charge thanks to a former player, to perturb future vandals from undoing the hard work and financial cost gone into repairing the facilities.
Both clubs have made the subsequent repairs, however, 11 months on from two incidents of vandalism and theft and Staplehurst’s still have two wooden gates still needing to be rehung. This is despite the fact that the season restarted in August, stopped in December and got back underway again in April this year.