The long-term future of Cornard United Football Club continues to look brighter as fortunes improve on and off the field.
With the team steadily creeping up the table, arguably even more important improvements to the football club have been taking place behind the scenes, with a team of dedicated volunteers looking to transform the club and its facilities.
In April, it was announced that Great Cornard Parish Council, which owns the club’s base in Blackhouse Lane, had chosen to grant a new lease to then manager Mark Hoskin, sparking a voluntary effort that has continued to bring the club and its facilities back up to scratch.
Despite Hoskin’s decision to back out from signing the lease in August, and his later resignation as first team manager, the club has continued to move forward – with the council agreeing that the lease could instead be signed by a club committee.
Rob Hoskin, Mark’s brother, who has been heavily involved in the improvements and who is the club’s welfare officer, said the new committee lease was a perfect fit for the club, now run on a not-for-profit basis.
“It’s a committee-run club, run 100 per cent by volunteers,” said Mr Hoskin. “It’s gone from a business to a group of people doing it for exactly the right reasons.”
The one disappointment, however, has been the failure to sign the 25-year lease offered by the council.
This, Mr Hoskin said, was due to restrictions on the clubhouse’s current licence.
Currently, the club is in the process of applying for a new licence from Babergh District Council and Mr Hoskin said he was confident this would go through.
Then, one of the final pieces in the jigsaw would be in place for the committee to sign the lease and give the club the security it has been waiting for.
Using a £10,000 grant from the parish council and donations from local business, new changing rooms, toilets and a new bar and function room have been fitted, with the majority of the labour carried out by volunteers.
“We are ensuring the club is there for the local people and the children,” said Mr Hoskin.
He added that the club desperately needed more volunteers.