Saffron Walden Town FC complete move to become Community Benefit Society

15:11 03 October 2013

Saffron Walden Town FC chairman Melvyn Seymore (middle) and vice chairman Martin Johnson (right) with the documents that allow the club to proceed as a Community Benefit Scheme. Left, John Mclaughlin, who has assisted the club
with the process
. Picture Gareth Davies.

Saffron Walden Town FC chairman Melvyn Seymore (middle) and vice chairman Martin Johnson (right) with the documents that allow the club to proceed as a Community Benefit Scheme. Left, John Mclaughlin, who has assisted the club with the process . Picture Gareth Davies.

Gareth Davies 2013

“Community focus” is now embedded in the DNA of Saffron Walden Town FC after the club completing the process of transferring the club to Community Benefit Society (CBS) status.

Senior officials signed the official documents before Saturday’s first team match with Swaffham Town at Catons Lane – securing the club’s long-term future.

It means the members will now own the club directly, and the structure will help provide stability for the future. It will also help avoid the events of 2011-12 when there was no senior football played at Catons Lane.

Vice-chairman Martin Johnson said: “This is really important step for the long-term future of the club. The CBS model and similar models of fan ownership are the way forward for clubs who want a secure future at the heart of the community.

“This is a community club first and foremost and this model means that community focus is now embedded in the club’s DNA.”

The club has been working on the details of the change for around 15 months, and it was endorsed by members in principle at the 2012 AGM, and again based on a specific set of new club rules, at the July 2013 AGM.

A new limited liability not-for-profit company – Saffron Walden Town Football Club Ltd – was established in August, and the club has now received the formal approval of the FA, Essex FA and Thurlow Nunn League, allowing the transfer to be be effected as of Saturday.

The club’s objectives under the new rules are:

• enhancing the social, cultural and economic value of the club to its communities and by acting as a responsible custodian of the club for future generations;

• upholding the mutual ownership of the club operating democratically, fairly and transparently;

• ensuring the club operates with financial responsibility enabling the club to be run for the long term interest of the community;

• providing sporting facilities and opportunities regardless of age, income, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexuality, religious or moral belief;

• playing at the highest level possible, but always operating in a financially responsible and prudent manner; and;

• ensuring football at junior and senior levels is available for the local community to enjoy in appropriate surroundings and in an inclusive, welcoming atmosphere.

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