Magpies looking to kick on with new function room

Dorset Echo: AIMING TO BOOST FUNDS: Chairman Shaun Hearn AIMING TO BOOST FUNDS: Chairman Shaun Hearn

SHAUN Hearn believes the building of a new function room will secure a brighter future for the Magpies.

Dorchester Town have submitted plans for a brand new facility at the Avenue Stadium, filling the void left by the Prince’s Marquee, which had to be dismantled in 2010 following complaints from Castle Park residents.

And club chairman Hearn is confident that the planned structure, which he hopes to complete by April, will create a much-needed stream of revenue.

He told Echosport: “We have put in planning permission for a function room where the marquee used to be. It will bring in some regular income to the Football club.

“We will hopefully have skittles and darts facilities, as well as a café and restaurant, subject to planning permission of course.

“It will be a permanent structure but it’s not going to be a massive development. There is though, no reason why in a few years’ time we can’t build another facility.

“Planning normally takes eight weeks but I am anticipating there will be some queries.

“However, we are doing all we can to make sure the process runs smoothly. Sometimes things don’t always go as smooth as you want but hopefully we have put enough effort in to appease everyone.

“If we get planning, I’m hoping to have the function room built by April 2013, providing everything goes to plan.

“For the club to continue at the level it is, we need to create better revenue streams.

“We want facilities at the football club that can bring the community in, and we also want to give a bit back to the community as well.”

The new function room will be predominantly funded by a five-year sponsorship deal with Greene King IPA, which will also see the cask ale company gain naming rights to the Avenue Stadium.

On the subject of changing the name of the Magpies’ home to the Greene King IPA Community Stadium, Hearn added: “It’s needs must at the end of the day and I hope supporters understand why we have done this.

“It’s not a decision we have taken lightly as I’m fully aware that the Avenue Stadium is important to the supporters.

“The deal is over a minimum of five years and we will use the money to help fund the new function room. We still need to source some other funding for the function room but I’m sure it will be achievable.

“So the money we receive from the deal will be going back into the community so to speak. It’s not being spent on players’ salaries – it will be used to help sustain the football club for years to come. Greene King also want to work with us on other things, which will act as spin-offs.

“For example, the Football Conference Trust are going to be helping us with some grants for community projects.

“Therefore, we are also looking to encourage organisations and disadvantaged groups to be a part of these projects and work with us.

“Hopefully the community will respond and get involved in some of the projects we want to promote.

“It’s all looking good on the community front and there is a lot in the pipeline. Hopefully it will all come to fruition this season.”

On the pitch, the Magpies, who host Chelmsford City today (3pm), are currently enjoying their best ever start to a season at Conference South level – despite having lowered their budget over recent years.

Hearn said: “We are doing well with the budget we have. Whatever happens in the future, I want to make sure the club is living within its means.

“We have been making a transition from having a squad that was earning a lot of money when I took over (Sept-ember 2009).

“The budget was at an unrealistic amount based on the revenue coming in but we are nearing the point where the club is seriously starting to work with a budget that is viable.”

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