Crawley Town FC has signed a five-year sponsorship deal with Checkatrade.com – and one community group has 15,000 reasons to be grateful.
The Reds pledged some of the sponsorship money from the six-figure deal to local community projects.
The gesture came after Crawley Borough Council –which owns the club’s 6,000 capacity stadium – agreed to its name being changed from Broadfield Stadium to the Checkatrade.com Stadium.
As a result, Broadfield Youth and Community Centre will receive £3,000 per year over the next five years.
The news came as something of a surprise to the team which runs the centre.
Julie Waghorn, centre manager, said the team was delighted by the news but added: “We’re a little bit in the dark. It’s fantastic news for the centre but we’re not sure what, if any, criteria they’ve put to this money as to what we can use it for.
“We are always after funding to help us continue to run the centre. The list of things we could do with the money is probably endless.”
Acting chairman of the centre, Kevin Gordon, said: “It excellent news because it’s always a challenge to find funding for these things.
“There are projects and community work we might like to start to provide, so it’s great we have additional funding for five years.”
Mr Gordon’s one concern was that the money would affect the annual grant the privately run centre already received from Crawley Borough Council.
But a council spokesman reassured the team that, not only could the money be spent however they felt best but: “this new money won’t affect the council’s grant commitments”.
Cllr Duncan Crow, Cabinet member for Leisure and Culture, said: “We’re delighted to be able to help the football club generate much-needed income by agreeing to the renaming of the stadium.
“The club’s offer to help fund the Broadfield Youth and Community Centre is much appreciated.”
A spokesman for the club said the money would be released “shortly”.