Olympic Bronze Medal gymnast Amy Tinkler will be our guest of honour to mark the completion of the work to install drainage and irrigation and resurface the pitch at Heritage Park on Saturday 25th February before the Bishop Auckland v Seaham Red Star Ebac Northern League game.
The grant has enabled Bishop Auckland FC to resolve major issues the Club had with drainage (last season many games were postponed as a result of being waterlogged) and at the same time provide the Club with a pitch that is considered to be of Football League standard. Bishop Auckland Football Club play in the Ebac Northern League Division One which is at Step 5 in the National League System. The Club are very ambitious and its aim is to play at the highest level possible in the National League System and this has been evidenced for many years by the fact that the Club has been the only Northern League Club to apply for promotion.
The benefits of the newly renovated pitch have been seen already benefitted the team which saw the Club reach the Fourth Qualifying Round of the FA Cup (the farthest round we have reached for 17 years) and are currently in the top 6 of the League and was hugely appreciated by Darlington 1883 of the Conference North who ground-shared with Bishop Auckland until December of this season and has been praised by Middlesbrough FC who have played FA Youth Cup games at Heritage Park this season.
The project was made possible thanks to a £52,000 grant from the Premier League, through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF), the largest funders of non-league football in the country with the remaining funding coming from a bequest of Colin Rowell a loyal supporter who died in January 2015 aged 79 years.
Funded with £5.2m each year from the Premier League, the FSIF is the country’s largest provider of grants towards projects that help improve the comfort and safety of lower league football grounds in both the professional and amateur game. These improvements range from new football stands and turnstiles to floodlighting and improved provision for disabled supporters.