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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Appeal for support as Barrow sports club looks to brighter future

THE future of a sports and social club looks set to be secured after winning strong backing from the community – but campaigners say they still need the public’s support.

Directors of the club in Hawcoat, Barrow, say they now have the necessary funding to take over the lease from BAE Systems.

Dave Coverdale and Paul Burns have managed to reduce the £65,000 needed by making cutbacks and have raised nearly half of the remaining amount needed with their Unity Lottery cash and pledges made by individuals.

There were fears last year that the popular club, in Hawcoat Lane, could close after the withdrawal of sponsorship from BAE left a black hole in its accounts.

Mr Coverdale said the club still needed the same level of financial commitment from members and the public of Barrow to make sure it continued to stay open.

Mr Burns said directors had put together a viable five-year business plan which they would be presenting to BAE and hoped for a 25-year lease.

They are also getting £10,000 from Rugby Football Union’s Lead Up to Legacy Fund in time for the Rugby World Cup to refurbish the lounge areas.

Mr Coverdale added that BAE had agreed to carry out some of the maintenance work which has helped them move forward.

Mr Burns said: “We have this five-year plan and a strategy going forward 25 years and we will put that before them for their consideration.

“I think we will be OK.”

Mr Coverdale added: “We are confident as a club that we will survive but we still need the support of members and the public through the lottery, donations and pledges.

“We are putting together a feasibility study going forward 25 years. This will see if it is cost-effective to keep maintaining the building or we should build a new one.”

A BAE spokesman said: “Our preferred option has always been for the site to remain as a community-based sporting facility, with the current committee of Hawcoat Park Sports and Social Club retaining first option to continue using it, for a nominal annual rent.

“Despite the decision to withdraw from any future funding, we have continued to support its committee members and we are very encouraged by this latest, positive development.”

lFor a chance to win £25,000 and support the club for just £1, visit www.unitylottery.co.uk or call 0870 050 9240.

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