Tuesday 8th July is always a special day for Lewes Football Club. That was the day four years ago when the club became wholly-owned by the local community.
Now with almost 1,000 owners, the club is ready for its next big move. This Tuesday 8th July marks the official launch of what the club is calling its Regeneration Investment Offer or RIO for short. The club are looking to raise £200,000 from people throughout the Lewes district to help fund the construction of a new third generation (3G) all-weather pitch on land adjacent to the club’s home ground, The Dripping Pan. The club hope to have the 3G open for April 2015.
The total cost for building the 3G will be £850,000, but around £650,000 of this will come from grants such as the Football Foundation, Sport England and others. The club hopes that the prospect of having a brand new all-weather pitch in Lewes will encourage local people to step forward. But as club Director Charlie Dobres explains, the club is not looking for hand-outs: “Anyone who puts money into this investment offer can get a 2% annual return from the club as well as a potential 30% back from the tax man as HMRC have told us that this offer is EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme) compliant. So by the time people get their money back, they will not only have helped to fund an amazing new sports facility, they can actually make a few bob too.”
And to help the club promote the RIO offer, they have enlisted the help of Rio the Rook (pictured). He may only be eighteen inches high, but Rio has quite a lot to say for himself: “Personally, I quite like the rain. But apparently it’s pretty hard to play football when a pitch is covered in six inches of water. So I said I’d help the Rooks by starring in a film for them.” That film and all the information that potential investors might want is now online at www.LewesFC.com/Rio
The Regeneration Investment Offer is open until midnight of the Rooks’ first home league match in August.