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“Shaping the next 75 years”: Wythenshawe issue community shares

FSA member and community-owned football club Wythenshawe AFC are raising funds to improve the facilities at their Hollyhedge Park home.

Established in 1946, the club converted to community ownership five years ago this week and the club has been on an upward trajectory ever since. Prior to becoming community-owned the club had a nomadic existence, renting pitches around the area.

After becoming community owned, the club worked with Manchester City Council to acquire a long-term lease on Hollyhedge Park in Sharston, Wythenshawe, and set about raising funds to create a home for their senior football teams and their 30 junior sides.

The ground was officially opened in 2017 by Bryan Robson and the same year the club was promoted to the North West Counties League. The club’s women’s team now play in the North West Women’s Regional League. The funds raised from the community shares will be used to improve the pitches as well as pay for improvements to the club house and car park.

Club chairman Carl Barratt said: “This could be a real game changer, not just for us as a club, but also for the community, we already do a lot of work in the local area, but we could do so much more.

“We want to grow as a club, both on and off the pitch and this money raised will go directly into the improvement of the facilities here at Hollyhedge Park. You will also get a say in how we shape the next 75 years of the club moving forwards, so I would urge you to please invest if you can.”

Community shares are a unique funding model available to clubs constituted as Community Benefit Society. The FSA has supported clubs to raise millions of pounds worth of funding in this way. FC United, Wrexham and Portsmouth have all raised significant funds using community share offers.

Earlier this year Crewe Alexandra fans celebrated raising £250,000 in just three months to purchase a stake in their club using a community share offer.

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Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund

Partners

  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • SD Europe