Barrow AFC officially unveiled their state-of-the-art new floodlights in Cumbria this week (Tuesday 20 February).
This was thanks to a grant from the Premier League, through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF) – the largest funders of non-league football in the country.
The funding has enabled Barrow AFC, who play in the Vanarama National League, to replace their existing floodlights. The original lighting system, which was installed in the 1960s, was in a poor state of repair due to age.
Now the club has brand new floodlights that are not only in line with the FA National Ground Grading Criteria for their Step 1 position, but are also acceptable should Barrow AFC secure promotion in the future.
With the help of player Grant Holt, who spent three years at Norwich City FC during which they were promoted to the Premier League, the club hopes this is on the horizon.
Holt was joined by Lancashire FA council representative for Barrow, John Knagg, and Barrow AFC managing director Andrew Casson to perform the floodlight switch-on.
The new lighting system benefits both the club’s first team and youth team, by providing greater flexibility when it comes to scheduling fixtures and training – especially during the dark winter months. It will also provide better safety for the club’s home ground.
The project was made possible by a £64,793 grant from the Premier League, which is delivered by the Football Stadia Improvement Fund – the sister organisation of the Football Foundation.
This follows a previous grant of £34,722 the club received from the Premier League, through the FSIF, towards a stadium upgrade project in 2016. This takes the Premier League’s total investment in the club to £99,565.
Funded with £6.5m each year from the Premier League, the FSIF – the sister organisation of the Football Foundation – 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.
Roger DeNobrega, Chief Executive of the Lancashire FA, said: “Lancashire FA is very pleased to endorse Barrow AFC and support their application to the Premier League, through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, for new floodlights. As one of our Full Member Clubs they play a vital role in developing football in the Barrow & District area and providing a community asset for the Borough.”
Andrew Casson, Barrow AFC Managing Director, said: “Replacing the old floodlights was of the utmost importance to this football club, not only to raise the standard of lighting in the ground, but also to improve the safety of the whole facility. This project could not have happened without access to the FSIF, and Barrow AFC are extremely grateful for their help in finalizing this long needed improvement.”
Peter McCormick OBE, Chairman of the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, said: “It’s wonderful to hear that Barrow AFC now have state-of-the-art new floodlights, which will create a safer and more effective training environment for its first and youth teams.
“Through the FSIF, the Premier League invests in improving infrastructure at lower levels of the game. This is helping to improve the experiences of players, coaches and fans across England. Barrow AFC’s new lighting system is just one example of what the Premier League’s funding is achieving all over the country.”