Friends of the Grove An update from Karen Brookes 03/02/21
Keith and I are sending our best wishes to you all and hoping that you and your families are keeping safe and healthy in these difficult and challenging times and whilst it is not looking positive for the immediate future, we’re hoping to catch up with you all down at The Grove sometime soon.
The reason for the communication is to provide a Friends of the Grove update and also we are hoping to gather some more members of this supporters scheme.
As the majority of our Yeltz folk will be aware Rob Lloyd set up and has been running ‘Friends of the Grove’ Supporters Association for some time and it is seen as a real link from the fans to the club. Rob has been instrumental in building it up to the level it is today and building strong relationships in doing so.
Make no mistake it has supported the club in delivering many improvements to the ground and stadium facilities, such as new Dugouts, a contribution to the new changing room facilities and new equipment which has been vital in ensuring that we continue to develop the ground and stadium and maintain it to a high standard.
We have agreed with Rob that both he and ‘Friends of the Grove’ Supporters Association joins with the club, so that we are able to support him with the administration, which can be considerable. Especially, given the club has been stabilised over the last few years and we are now in a position to manage these finances and evidence how these funds are being spent – as we are sure you all know.
As you will have noticed, Rob over the last few weeks has been getting up to date with all of the draws. These have now all been completed and the prizes are being issued to all the winners.
We’d like to take this opportunity of thanking Rob for all his hard work and efforts over the years, it has generated incredibly important funds to support the ground and stadium improvements.
This transition is being effected as of now (February 2021) and we therefore need our current members to respond to the email from Dave Hawley, General Manager, who will provide the clubs bank details for you to amend your current ‘Friends of the Grove’ standing order, hopefully, within the next couple of weeks.
For individuals who are not yet members here is how the scheme works:
Supporters of the draw pay £10.00 per month to enter and they stand a chance of winning a cash prize – two prizes available a winner and second place, members can have more than one entry if they wish which will increase their chances of winning.
50% of the money put into the draw gets used as prizes – first prize - £150 and second prize - £90, based on the number of members there maybe more cash prizes available.
50% of the money is used to develop the ground and stadium at The Grove
For the time being we will continue to do the prize draws virtually and Dave Hawley will act as mine host and will ensure that all prize winners are notified and receive said prizes.
If you are interested in supporting the club and joining in with the fun of a regular prize draw then please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org and he will be able to advise on signing up and providing the information that you need.
Take care and be safe.
Up the Yeltz
The Friends of The Grove have continued to raise funds through its members this season.
A sizeable donation has been made by the Friends of the Grove and has helped the club undertake some crucial renovation work to the ground whilst football has been in lockdown.
This includes painting all the barriers around the ground, the painting and updating of the Harry Rudge Stand and the Shed End.
There was a new disabled area constructed as well as new dug-outs, and a complete renovation of the changing rooms.
Previous projects that the Friends of The Grove have funded is the re-development of the toilet block at the Old Hawne Lane end of the ground.
The toilets had been in need for a face-lift for so many years now and is the one thing that lets The Grove down.
We held a meeting with Ruth Hopkins General Manager and Head of Access & Development with Level Playing Field who aim to promote a positive, inclusive experience for disabled sports fans
The Gents saw the most change with the old brick urinal off the wall, walls and ceiling clad and a brand new purpose built stainless steel urinal put in place and hot water thanks to a new water heater hot water.
New made to measure uPVC windows were installed by local business Oak Lodge Doors and a new non slip floor installed courtesy of Manager Paul Smith's company.
Following further consultation with Ruth the need for a disabled toilet facility was quickly identified so we then took the decision that the ladies toilet would become a ladies / unisex disabled toilet with disabled facilities and, hot water and a hand dryer.
A new wheelchair access ramp has been installed and the door widened to accommodate any disabled supporters.
The cladding of the Shed end and the corridor to the changing rooms was also a project funded by The Friends of the Grove.
It is down to all you Yeltz fans who contribute towards the Friends of the Grove that projects like this are achievable be it through the monthly draw or the purchase of 50/50 draw tickets before each game.
All the work has been completed with the expert hands of Rich Ditchfield and the volunteers and fans.
Thank you to everyone. #UpTheYeltz
Oak Lodge Doors are based on Furnace Hill in Halesowen https://oaklodgedoors.co.uk/
To see more of the fantastic work the Level Playing Field do click here https://www.levelplayingfield.org.uk/
Previous FOTG Projects
Over the past years FOTG members have not only contributed finances towards numerous projects around The Grove, but also have completed numerous jobs around the ground too.
The baking hot close season brought a number of obstacles in 2018, an unfinished perimeter fence, a refurbished bar to be completed as well as the usual pre season clear up. Again our band of volunteers proved no job was too big and a few weeks and some aching joints later the fence, bar and clear up were ready in time before the new season got underway.
The summer of 2016 saw a massive improvement at the ground with hundreds of hours of time given by supporters, the biggest change being at The Shed end and changing room area. Thanks to Yeltz fan Scott Mitchell and his contacts with Benbow Steel we managed replace all of the steel cladding that was in desperate need of replacing. Initially the plan was to look taking down the old guttering and replace it but do to the work of Scott and support of Benbow Steels we managed to completely renovate the area.
Fellow Yeltz fan and FOTG member Mark Spittle used his expertise in drainage and external flooring by ensuring the area by the changing rooms wouldn't flood. On wet match days this area was often full of puddles - not great for visiting players, officials and sponsors . With Marks hard work along with an army of volunteers this area was improved significantly. Even putting a roof on outside of the changing rooms creating a tunnel behind the Shed End.
Another Yeltz fan and FOTG members Richard Ditchfield also used his plumping and carpentry expertise in adding a players boot wash facility for players. Richard also built the programme shed which helps to bring in an income to the club with thousands of programmes on sale as well as some old Yeltz memorabilia. It of course also gives volunteers selling the match programme somewhere somewhere dry to sell from on match days.
The summer of Summer also saw FOTG members complete other projects. Vice Chairman Ron Moseley and Tim Bullock did a great job of making over the board room, kitchen, toilets and hall way in the Harry Rudge Stand. Other jobs completed during the summer included a deep clean of the changing rooms, including the replacement of ceiling tiles and painting both home and away changing rooms, shower areas and officials changing rooms. FOTG member Graham Dumphy also used his carpentry skills to hang numerous doors around the ground that had been donated to us by Oak Lodge Doors in Halesowen.
The Summer of 2015 saw numerous tasks completed including painting of turnstiles at the Old Hawne End, the makeover of the toilet block (including repairs of the leaking roof) and a new club shop. The whole block had new wiring and lighting put in thanks to the expertise of Neil Broughton. Lots of external and internal painting was done around the ground including the painting of dug outs and steps on the terraces. A new floor was also installed in the home changing rooms.