Bognor folk asked if they can back the Nye Camp revamp

The Rocks are set to launch a high-profile fundraising drive to help cover the cost of major improvements to Nyewood Lane.

Nyewood Lane is in line for a major summer revamp

It comes after planning permission for a new 367-seat grandstand was granted by Arun District Council, giving the Rocks the green light to press on with their summer refurbishment of the ground.

Although the club appreciate it has been a difficult time financially for many people, they are hoping fans and others in the wider community with links to the club and its facilities will be able to pitch in.

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The loss of the end of the Isthmian premier division season – when the Rocks had their final seven home matches wiped out – cost the club an estimated £35,000 of revenue, which has hit their budgetary planning for the work on the ground and running a successful squad next season.

Many non-league clubs are turning to crowdfunding schemes in what has been a testing time and the Rocks hope the community gets behind them.

Since lockdown began, the club have been heartened by the number of supporters showing a willingness to help out financially and practically, including a £1,000 donation from an ex-player who joked it made up for weeks when he had been paid but hadn’t played well.

Manager Jack Pearce said: “We’re delighted to get planning permission for the stand. The stand, as well as the new floodlights, covered end outside the Seasons clubhouse, toilets on the far side from the main stand and sound system, is vital to securing our long-term future.

“These are positive things we are doing but we do need to ask for help from the people of Bognor and the wider area.

“There are lots of people going through tough times at the moment and it’s never a good time to have to ask for help, but we hope to find a good response.

“We’re not just asking our fans to help. We are asking non-football people too because it is our belief that many, many people locally will have had some sort of involvement in the club or its facilities in the past, or will have in the future.

“Over generations it’s likely that all families in the town will have had at least one member who watches or plays football or uses facilities at the ground.

“We have 28 teams at the club, including all the boys and girls’ teams as well as the more senior teams, and that’s a lot of people and families.

“We also attract supporters from beyond just Bognor – in fact we have one who comes to every home and away game all the way from Wimbledon. So we hope there will be people from outside the town who can help us.

“The work we’re doing this summer will benefit the whole town and we are committed to forging ahead with the work we need to do.”

The firm details of the crowdfunding appeal will be released at the start of next week and it will include rewards which can be bought, including the chance to feature on a wall of the new stand.

Bognor’s fundraising comes as Worthing celebrate the success of a similar venture. They raised £43,000 in a fortnight and that will be added to £107,000 already secured to pay for features such as new floodlights, a food/drink/toilet block and improvements to the home dressing room.

Meanwhile Bognor’s squad-building for the 2020-21 remains at an early stage.

Striker Dan Smith is thought likely to join National League premier side Eastleigh, though there is still no agreement between the clubs over a compensation fee.

Pearce said he had spoken to members of the existing squad to say he hoped they would remain at the club but it was too early to do deals, especially when it was not yet known when next season would begin.