Needham Market FC – putting a non-league club on the map

Non-league football club – Needham Market FC – based in Suffolk was one of two winners of the Buildbase Club Renovation Bursary in 2018. The bursary awarded £50,000 of building materials to improve the club’s facilities for teams, supporters and the local community.

Nearly 12 months on, we caught up with the club’s Operations & Academy Director, Robert Peace about how the club’s improvements are progressing:

“This has brought a very big, positive change to the club and will probably make Needham Market FC the stand-out football facility in the county, with a brand new building between a 3G and a real pitch – this is putting Needham Market on the map.”

Robert Peace is clearly very happy about the changes, now nearly completed at the club, following its success in the Buildbase Club Renovation Bursary competition 2018.

The materials supplied through the competition have gone into the construction of a new, two-storey building which houses changing rooms for players and referees plus an upstairs community café and multi-purpose function room. With both stairs and a lift to the first floor, the facility is accessible to everyone.

Robert said: “The whole purpose of the build is to provide an inclusive environment with disability access along with a place for parents to watch the youth teams playing.

“The building will open officially in April and everyone here is hugely excited by it. We’ve been showing club members around the interior as well as the balcony which runs round three sides of the building.”

Needham Market FC currently has 11 teams – from under-13s to under-18s youth teams, the men’s seniors, the Academy plus the women’s and under-14s girls’ teams. Plans to affiliate with other junior teams in the local area could result in a total of about 30 teams operating at the club.

“Sport plays a big role in the community and we will be providing a facility where players, spectators and families can take pride in the football we play here and treat the club as an important hub for the local community,” Robert added.

“We run one of the biggest academies in East Anglia and we know our young people will be proud to get involved with these state-of-the-art facilities.”

Robert complimented the local Buildbase branch team at Stowmarket for their support and delivering materials promptly during the building process: “It’s a serious commitment when you’re trying to improve your club facilities and working with Buildbase means we’ve really enjoyed the process.”