A RENOVATION costing over £300,000 aims offset reduced funding and help the Herefordshire FA to become more self-sufficient.

The county’s FA’s home on Widemarsh Common was stripped down to its shell and a 22-week build has resulted in a new office, meeting rooms available to hire and a kitchen. They have also built a National League standard changing room block.

Some two-thirds of the money needed from the project came from grants from the FA, Football Foundation and Herefordshire Council. The rest came from reserves as the Herefordshire FA now looks fit for the future.

“The Herefordshire FA by nature of our size has been one of those most impacted by FA funding cuts,” said Herefordshire FA CEO Alan Darfi.

“We had a limited window to secure the funding as one FA funding pot which was available to us was closing. It was a perfect opportunity

“Our building work has helped to create better user experience for those hiring our 3G pitch or the two meeting rooms which are available during the daytime, evenings and weekends.

“We’re a not-for-profit organisation so anything generated by the hire of our facilities goes back into grass roots football.

“We have got a few regular users already and the nature of our organisation means we can offer the rooms at affordable rates with free car parking, tea and coffee.

“We’re keen to open it up to everybody and there’s nothing really like these rooms in this part of town.”

The SSAFA County Ground regularly hosts school football competitions along with county league fixtures and the pitch is available to rent.

Herefordshire FA also have their Player Development Centre based at the Widemarsh Common facility and hold cup finals across the age groups.

“We’ve now got changing rooms ourselves as before we had no changing rooms and had to rent them off Lads Club,” added Darfi.

“The main aim was to give a better user experience of the Herefordshire FA facilities and we hold a number of football fixtures.”