The opening ceremony celebrated the completion of the club’s £1million investment in a new 250-seat grandstand and club house with spectator and hospitality facilities.
Arch, the Northumberland Development Company, has supported the investment in ACFC’s new facilities which form part of the ongoing regeneration of Ashington town centre and the Hirst Investment Plan where Arch is a major landlord.
The Investment Plan facilitates the physical aspects of Northumberland County Council’s vision
for a healthier and more prosperous Ashington by putting important community institutions like the ACFC on a more sustainable and long-term footing. Arch is currently leading the delivery of the ten-year plan which will see approximately £74m invested and bring over 1,000 high-quality jobs to the heart of Ashington.
Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck and ACFC chairman, said: “This is a major step for the Ashington Investment project. The ACFC development is providing first class sporting and hospitality facilities that will encourage greater community involvement and improve the sporting experience locally. It’s very exciting to see the plans to regenerate and revitalise Ashington becoming a reality.”
Global paints and coatings company AkzoNobel sponsors the new grandstand. Jeff Hope, Ashington site manager, AkzoNobel Decorative Paints UK, said: “It is fantastic to see the new AkzoNobel stand opening at Ashington Community Football Club – the increased capacity at the ground will mean many more of the club’s fans can now enjoy the game in style. Ashington CFC is an important local hub and will be the centre of many events and celebrations over the coming years – it’s something we are very excited to be part of.”
Arch Group chairman and deputy leader of Northumberland County Council, councillor Dave Ledger added: “We want to create a prosperous county with sustainable economic growth where our local institutions can thrive. The ACFC development has been an exciting project for us and offers fantastic new facilities that will not only benefit Ashington but the county as a whole. We welcome anyone from across Northumberland who wish to use them.”
ACFC moved from the town centre to Woodhorn Lane in 2008 and plays competitively in the Northern League Division One. The club is integral to the history and heritage of the town, it was formed in 1883, making it one of the oldest clubs in Northumberland. Ashington-born World Cup winning brothers Bobby and Jackie Charlton supported the club growing up and Newcastle United legend Jackie Milburn played for them.
Arch was established by Northumberland County Council in 2011 as a private-sector arms-length development company to drive capital economic development, physical regeneration projects and business growth across the county.
It generates commercial income from investment, development and estate management. Supplemented by other funding streams, profits are recycled into regeneration activity, inward investment and business support creating a ‘profit for purpose’ business model which delivers sustainable benefits to communities across Northumberland.