Plans for a major redevelopment at Inver Park could still be on the cards, after Larne FC was thrown a potential funding lifeline.
In last week’s Larne Times, we reported that the future of the Championship One club could be in jeopardy unless it secures funding for a planned £4m upgrade of its stadium.
The redevelopment would see a 3g pitch laid at the ground, as well as the creation of a new all-weather training facility covered by a dome, and a new 1,100 seater stand.
It had been hoped that funding could be secured from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, as part of a £36m pot set aside for football stadium development.
The project is currently stuck in limbo as funding from the Department has not been forthcoming.
However, there is renewed hope for the scheme after a London-based business read about the club’s plight in the Larne Times and decided to offer its support.
Sponsorise.me is an online firm providing sports clubs with a platform to raise money through crowdfunding – the practice of using small amounts of money from a large number of individuals to finance a particular venture.
The company, which has offices in London, Paris and Miami, has been involved in over 600 projects since it was established in 2013.
Ashley Holding, partnership executive at Sponsorise.me told the Times: “When we learned of the situation faced by Larne FC, we immediately felt that crowdfunding was something that could really benefit the club.
“It ticks all of our boxes and really is the sort of project we want to work with.
“Crowdfunding is not intended to finance the entire project, just part of it. The idea is to set an achievable target over a certain timeframe.
“The money is only released when the funding goal is reached, and all contributors are fully refunded of the target is not reached.”
If the fundraising target is met, Sponsorise.me takes a small fee of any money raised.
While nothing has yet been formally agreed with the firm, Melanie Fitzpatrick – a consultant working with Larne FC – described the crowdfunding offer as an “amazing opportunity”.
“It is a no strings attached chance to raise funds with the help of the community that could help towards modernising Inver Park,” she added.