WORCESTER City Supporters’ Trust chairman Dave Wood insists he has “never worried” about raising £2.5million to build a community sports facility at Perdiswell.

The trust, which this week took a controlling interest in the company that runs homeless City, released details of how it plans to pursue the project to members at its annual general meeting (AGM) last night (Thursday).

AS IT HAPPENED: Worcester City Supporters' Trust AGM

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It was highlighted that work needs to start by September 2021 in line with the three-year deadline on the planning permission granted via an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.

That happened after Worcester City Council, the landowners of the proposed site, went against the advice of its officers to reject the bid.

The prospect of gaining access to the land has proved a political hot potato with pressure group Protect Perdiswell Park railing against the plans.

This week the trust lifted the lid on how the development would be more than a football stadium and overseen by the trust, a not-for-profit community benefit society owned equally by its members, rather than the club which remains a limited company.

Wood, also a director of the club, says “a minimum of 3,000 members” of “four or five” groups who wish to be part of the project would benefit from utilising the “seven-day-a-week operation”.

It is those partners that could hold the key to securing much-needed finance through grants and withdrawable community shares – cash raised from individuals, groups and businesses that can be bought back by the trust once the facility is operational and profitable.

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“I have always stated from day one that the money side of it has never been an issue for me,” said Wood.

“It is a matter of finding the funding streams and people who want to engage, which happens by us showing the viability of the project.

“I have never worried because I don’t see it as being an onerous task, I see it as a fairly manageable amount of money to pull together.

“The fact it has become more of a reality now and we have a timescale actually makes it more exciting. We have to get on with it.

“A lot is going to move in a very short space of time. The business plan is done, we are ready present that to the council and will have initial discussions with the heads of the three main parties ahead of that to go through the basics.

“We are talking to community partners who want to be a part of it, four or five have come to us and we have momentum. We want to keep that rolling and get across the message about the community facility we want to have.

“There is a time limit on our planning application. Once that appeal was sorted we had a three-year time span so we had to set that target.

“It has to be realistic, of course, but we have drive it on. The hard work starts here.”

In the meeting, the trust revealed it had been through “a challenging year” financially but Wood said that would not affect the ability to raise capital.

“The purpose up to now had been to get through the planning application and that cost a lot of money,” he added.

“Relatively, it cost very little with the amount of free services that we benefited from but these things never come cheap.

“We are looking at funding streams with James Mathie of Supporters’ Direct on board. We have another expert and recently someone else who is involved with central government has offered assistance.

“We have some serious players coming in now we have got through the community ownership plan.”

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Asked about the scale of the proposed collaborations, Wood said: “There is potential for a minimum of 3,000 members from these community partners. That would benefit a huge number of people from outside the football fraternity.

“That utilisation would be part of a seven-day-a-week operation which is the only viable way forward.

“The football club never had that at St George’s Lane and they should have. The rugby club and cricket clubs have that additional revenue streams aside from sport, it is the logical way forward.”

  • All existing board members of Worcester City Supporters' Trust were elected back on with the nomination of Simon Copson accepted.

The board is made up of Dave Wood (chairman), Julian Pugh (vice-chair), Lyndon Roberts (secretary), Rich Widdowson, Mike Davis, Jem Pitt, Bosko Mekadovic, Ken Johnson, Neil Cox, Gavin Warr, Luke Cox and Simon Copson.

  • On the pitch, City host Shepshed Dynamo in Midland Football League Premier Division tomorrow (3pm).