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  • 3G Pitch Update

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    We are pleased to confirm that we have now signed the contract to install a 3G pitch at Gigg Lane this summer.

    We understand the frustration supporters feel around frequent match postponements due to the poor condition of the grass pitch this season. It is important that we maintain a focus on the long term success of the club. An artificial surface means that we can grow the reach of the club by bringing the wider community into Gigg Lane, make the stadium more financially sustainable, and build a base from which all of our teams can train and play, giving players the consistency and familiarity they need to succeed.

    Payment will be made in phases as the work progresses. The initial payment will be met by the Society reserves and we will receive matched funding of £300,000 from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. This will utilise the full £1m available from their Community Ownership Fund.

    We will also draw down funding from Bury Council who are contributing £450,000, as approved by their Cabinet recently. We are finalising a Community Development Plan with Bury Council which will commit us to a programme of work in the borough designed to maximise community usage of the stadium through a diverse number of initiatives, not just football.

    Our objective for the new season is to retain a strong balance sheet and drive greater revenue through pitch hire, which will be limited to 50 hours per week to protect the surface over the next 8 years. As highlighted in our previous statement, a significant amount of this revenue will be allocated to a sinking fund to replace the pitch when required, be it another artificial surface or a return to grass.

    At this stage of the season we know there is a focus on results with the ultimate aim of promotion. Football provides us with an opportunity to live in the moment, and we don’t want to dampen the joy that those moments bring to our supporters. Off the pitch, however, we remain relentless in our pursuit of a bigger, longer term objective to maximise the potential of the club in all areas.

    We also recognise that the grass pitch has a specific place in many supporters’ hearts. Not least those who have the ashes of their loved ones scattered there. With this in mind we would like to confirm the following:
     

    1. We will hold a ceremony at Gigg Lane for anyone who has had the ashes of a the friends or relatives scattered there, to allow them to say a farewell once more. Details of the ceremony will be announced as soon as we have the date.
    2. We will sell up to 500 pieces of turf from the Gigg Lane pitch, presented in seed boxes, to raise funds for the club and allow supporters to own a little piece of history. The dimensions will be 344mm x 214mm x 52mm and the first pieces bought will also receive a free copy of James Bentley’s book on Bury Football Club ‘Things Can Only Get Better: Bury’s Mid-90s Rise Under Stan Ternent’. We are grateful to James for this donation. There will also be a raffle for the two penalty spots. Further details will follow.
    3. Artificial grass is not as environmentally friendly as real grass. We believe the good we can do throughout the community outweighs the cost overall, but we do recognise our responsibilities to the environment. We are grateful to our shirt sleeve sponsors, Redfox Countryside Services, specialists in ecological management and restoration services, who have offered their services to help develop Starkies Wood, next to Gigg Lane, in a way which will contribute towards eventually making this project carbon neutral. The stadium is one of the oldest in Britain, and it would be wrong to pretend that carbon neutrality is easily achievable, but this is one step in that direction and we are extremely grateful for the thoughtful and unprompted offer of support from Redfox Countryside Services on this matter. It would require Council approval.



    There is also an early stage idea around a commemorative garden using the centre spot.

    The sight and smell of a grass pitch is something we all have imprinted in our footballing DNA. Our move to an artificial surface is a rational one, supported by an overwhelming 92% majority of our members. That doesn’t mean we don’t recognise the past and our emotional connection to it through places such as Gigg Lane. We hope this note shows an acknowledgment of that.  It is just the start of many ideas and initiatives for the forthcoming months.

    As always, keep across the latest from the club on the website, X / Twitter & Facebook.

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