SHAREHOLDERS were told last week that Worcester City would be applying for a Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF) grant to help bring Claines Lane up to scratch.

READ MORE | City apply for grant to improve Claines Lane

City has an “in-principle” agreement to lease the site which will bring about a return to Worcester after seven years in exile but must find ways to fund the necessary ground improvements.

READ MORE | Claines Lane will be the "rebirth" of City - Goode

Delayed redevelopment work on the Worcestershire FA-owned site is set to get going again after Worcester City Council agreed to up to £750,000 worth of loans to complete the job.

Those original plans, which were supposed to have come to fruition by the end of September 2019, only make Claines Lane suitable for the level below City’s.

READ MORE | Who did City get in the FA Vase fifth round draw? 

The move to Claines Lane has been met with questions from supporters over whether the project will be deliverable to kick off next season there as planned, the site’s long-term suitability and whether accessing grants to improve a facility City don’t own will affect future applications if he club looks to move on.

Here, we provide answers to some of the obvious questions along with responses from the club.


Funded by the Premier League with an annual budget of £6.5m, FSIF awards capital grants to clubs from the Football League down to the lower levels of the FA National League System to improve safety and satisfy FA ground grading requirements.

It provides financial assistance towards a wide range of stadia projects, including the construction of new stands, installation of floodlights, turnstiles or relocating to a new ground.


Clubs at City’s level can access up to £100,000 for improvements across a five-year period but FSIF money can only make up a maximum of 70 per cent of the cost of the project.

If promoted, the maximum would be £150,000 with any grants accessed within the previous five years deducted from any future successful applications.

Once five years has passed, clubs can then make a fresh application for funds.

The most notable aspect is clubs must “either own the freehold of the site you want to develop or have a lease with at least 10 years unexpired” for grants up to £150,000.

City has yet to sign a lease for Claines Lane with club bosses still discussing the length of the arrangement.

That minimum of 10 years means City would have a blank canvas with regard to future FSIF grants for any project away from Claines Lane.

Asked about the facilities funded by City’s grants if the club was to move on, chairman Steve Goode said: “As far as I know they would stay at Claines Lane. We can apply again, so if we were to move on we would be eligible. It is about getting it up to standard.”


A stand providing covered accommodation, a public address system, turnstiles, hardstanding and potentially extra toilets are the major parts City hope to secure grants for.

The difference between the grading City need for Midland Football League Premier Division and the division above is relatively minimal.

The required capacity goes from 1,000 to 1,300, which is the target for Claines Lane anyway. The number of seats required goes up from 100 to 150 and minimum overall covered accommodation goes up from 200 to 300, a figure inclusive of seating.

Funding and work provided by Worcester Raiders, an existing tenant at Claines Lane, includes a covered stand with more than 100 seats.

READ MORE | New stand in place at Claines Lane

“We are looking at ground improvements for the level we are at now but we are considering as part of the funding to take it up to the following step as well, do it all in one hit,” said club director and supporters’ trust chairman Dave Wood.

Wood added that Worcestershire FA would be responsible for the work and he hoped to have estimates available shortly after last week’s meeting.

He said the FSIF funding was being accessed with “full support from the WFA” and that he had been told by the association and ground grading experts “everything we need to do is covered in the application”.

He reassured shareholders that “things are being put in place and we are driving it as hard as we can”. "We have to apply for the grants, the WFA will assist us in putting it together," he said.

“Any planning will be done through the WFA and Zebra Architects. Some of that work is already underway.”

Club and trust director Luke Cox said: “This is the Worcestershire FA’s project and we are purely tenants there, they are managing this whole project.

“We are talking to them and making sure everything fits the requirements.

“When it comes to these funding applications we have to be involved in that process because we are a beneficiary of these things when it comes to the additional works for the ground grading.”


Achieving the grading for the level above would allow City to go up again. 

If City gained a second promotion to what is currently Southern League Premier Division Central, where Bromsgrove Sporting, Alvechurch and Redditch United ply their trades, they would have until March 31 in their first season at that level to attain any extra requirements. 

*Part two of our look at City's Claines Lane move will be in tomorrow's Worcester News and online: