A TAMESIDE football club will become a new centre point of its town – thanks to criminals’ wrongdoing.
Mossley AFC has been handed almost £20,000 by Greater Manchester Police from its Asset Recovery Incentivisation Scheme (ARIS).
That sees money recovered under the Proceeds of Crime Act put in a fund and handed to causes that benefit communities.
And Mossley’s £19,470 will see a new unit installed on land at Seel Park close to its main James Anderson Stand, allowing a number of groups to use it as a base.
Chairman Stephen Porter believes having that will further strengthen the links between the club and the people around it.
He said: “For the community, it’s a good thing.
“To be utilising funds that have come from proceeds of crime to put together a lounge that will be for lots of different groups that can take advantage of it.
“There’s going to be an autism group, we’re looking to get Andy’s Man Club, we’re looking to get Alcoholics Anonymous as it’s quite a private area.
“It’s got its own private car park, which means people can come and if they don’t necessarily want people to know they’re going to one of the groups, they can access it privately.
“It’ll be quite hi-spec and totally self-contained. It cost us a few thousand pounds to clear the land and it’ll be in place later this year.
“And the way the ground is set up at the moment, everything is focused on the social club in the other corner. This would make a massive difference.”
Installing the new unit would bring further benefits to Seel Park as added disabled viewing facilities are also in the pipeline.
And new schemes will be introduced to encourage people living with other conditions go to games.
Stephen, who received the cheque from Inspector Claire Galt, Sergeant Ben Marsden and PSCO Karl Lisic, added: “Everything in money dependent but we’re going to apply for another grant as we’ll need decking and fencing.
“But also disabled ramps, as the plan is at the side to put a paved viewing area with some cover. At the moment, the only area we have is outside the social club and there’s no cover.
“We have people who come regularly who would benefit from the facilities. We want to be an inclusive club for disabled fans.
“We’re going to create sensory packs for autistic people who want to come, they would get a kit with a map of the ground, a card telling them who to contact, we’ll make it clear and will open up the ground early – there’ll also be a different queuing system.
“It’s about taking away that anxiety. We want to get everybody in and you can see our autistic fans love being part of it.
“And seeing the impact it’s had on them, it’s brought them out of themselves. Things like that made is think, ‘How can we add to that? How can we move forward?
“With extra sponsors coming in too, it‘s as good a time as it’s been for this club since the 1980s.”