FOOTBALL fans are being urged to pitch in and help fund a new all-weather playing surface that will benefit the whole community.

FC Clacton are trying to raise nearly £600,000 for the state-of-the-art surface, which will replace the grass pitch at their Austin Arena ground in Rush Green Road.

Thanks to grants and other investment, the club has already raised more than £400,000. Now they are calling on the community to help source another £195,000 by buying into a special Community Share scheme.

Fans are being asked to invest £1,000 and, in return, they will receive four per cent interest per year, entry into the club’s £100 monthly prize raffle and tax relief to claim back 30 per cent.

They will also become a member of the club and have their name on a sign, listing all those who made the scheme possible.

FC Clacton co-owner Stephen Andrews said: “It will be the best facility in the area for miles around and everyone will be able to use it.

“These funds will mean we can replace the pitch with the latest cork-infill, shock pad all-weather pitch, plus a brand new pitch barrier, spectator hardstanding, a new main stand and turnstile building.

“We’re also going to replace the floodlights, so we can play on into the night, seven days a week. With the extra capacity, more youth team training sessions and matches will be able to take place at the ground.

“And with fewer matches on the surrounding pitches, those pitches will be more playable and resilient through the winter. We’ll also be able to let the stadium be used by five-a-side leagues.

“However, to make the dream a reality, we need the help of our community. We need everyone associated with the club and more to buy at least one to make this happen.”

There will be an opportunity for people to get their money back on a first-come, first-paid basis each year, subject to the funds being available.

For more, call Mr Andrews on 07771 520157 or email