Bluebirds Trust - Representing the fans of Barrow AFC

This Is Your Club. Play Your Part

£ 0
Raised So Far
£ 0
To Go

In the last year, through the Bluebirds Trust, YOU contributed to the supporters’ stake in Barrow A.F.C, raising an incredible £50,000.  

This gave us a start on a new and exciting journey, in partnership with the new board of directors and much has been achieved. 

The initial investments stabilised the club, got us through the season and we arrived ready to compete in 2019-20. There were many hidden, inherited costs which were dealt with. 

Holker Street needed investment and the board set about finding ways to do that, in partnership with The Trust, the Maintenance Group and the wider support. There have been many improvements and are more to come, with new crush barriers and a roof on the Holker End.

Investment in the playing squad was maintained and then added to, with tremendous results. We are top of the league at present, we now needed to protect our assets on the pitch with improved contracts and also support a very talented manager. And we need to go again. 

To do all of that costs money and to maintain our stake and invest in these improvements means we, as a Trust, on behalf of YOU, our members and the wider support need to raise a further £65,000, to match the investment from the rest of the board and help our team strengthen. We will be able to find some of that money from our normal activities, but not all. 

With owning a percentage of our football club comes responsibility and as a support we need to decide and indicate how much we want to play your part financially

Our belief, as The Bluebirds Trust, is we should embrace this challenge together. For a better ground, with better facilities and a united fanbase with a real say. For a fantastic team and manager within touching distance of greatness. If not now, when?

Let’s play our part together.

Still got questions? Read our FAQs

  • What exactly is happening?

Barrow AFC Chairman Paul Hornby has offered the Bluebirds Trust the opportunity to purchase new shares in the club in order to retain our 10% stake, originally purchased earlier in 2019.

  • But we already own 10% of the club don’t we?

We do, yes. The Bluebirds Trust, with financial support from across the whole fan base, purchased 10% of Barrow AFC for £50,000. But the other owners have continued to invest, as they made clear that they would when they purchased the club. Additional work needed to make the stadium safe and compliant with regulations, along with ongoing losses associated with funding our incredible first team, have meant that the club has operated at a loss this year.

  • How much has the club lost?

The operating loss for this financial year is forecast to be £850,000. This is a bigger loss than originally expected due to the circumstances explained above, but the owners were always clear that a loss would be incurred, especially with the investment we made in refurbishing the Cross Bar, redeveloping the ground and making a strong commitment to keep and then support our manager, Ian Evatt.

  • Why does this loss mean new shares?

The owners had a choice. They could either convert their ongoing investment into debt or equity. Nobody wanted to put debt onto the club, so the only choice was equity. This means that at the end of the financial year, all the money that each owner has invested in the club is used to purchase shares. That way the club stays debt-free and the owners are able to continue investing to deliver our shared vision for the future.

  • So if the operating loss this year is £850,000 and the Bluebirds Trust own 10% of the club, does that mean that we need to invest another £85,000 to keep our 10% stake?

Essentially, yes. That’s the bad news. But the good news is that we’re not starting from zero. Far from it! While the other owners have been investing throughout the year, so have we. Remember the 1901 Club? We all helped to raise over £17,000 for Barrow AFC through the 1901 Club this summer, and this figure is being counted toward our total along with a number of smaller amounts of money that the Trust has invested since becoming owners.

  • How much do we actually need to raise then?

Factoring in everything that we’ve already invested, we need to raise another £65,000 in order to retain our 10% stake and give the other owners the backing that they desperately need and that their efforts to date deserve.

  • How long do we have to raise the money?

We have until the end of the Barrow AFC financial year, which is May 31st 2020.

  • What happens if we don’t reach the target?

Well in terms of the Bluebirds Trust, on May 31st we’ll hand over whatever money we’ve raised so far. If that’s less than the £85,000 target then our ownership will reduce from 10% to wherever we ‘level off’ against the other owners’ spend. What it would mean for the club is that there is less investment going in from the collective ownership because we (one of the owners) haven’t been able to keep up. This could impact the club’s plans for the rest of this season and into the summer.

  • Will we have to do this every year?

Nobody wants Barrow AFC to lose money every year, but the fact remains that at National League level we simply aren’t and cannot be profitable. Do we expect to lose money again next year? Yes. Will that mean the Bluebirds Trust once again needing to find 10% of an operating loss to retain our stake? Yes it will. But the owners are learning all the time about running a football club, and we’ve also cleared a huge hurdle with redevelopment of the West Terrace. Nobody expects the figure to be as high in future years as it has been this time. This was in many respects a ‘one off’ in order to bring our club up to a level that we could be proud of. Next year our Trust Representative on the board is committed to getting an accurate view as early in the year as possible as to what we have to raise, because the last thing that we want is to launch an annual ‘cash appeal’ every Christmas. It simply isn’t sustainable to do it this way – certainly not for such large sums of money.

  • Why has the Bluebirds Trust supported this second round of fundraising?

We haven’t taken this decision lightly, but ultimately we feel that we have to offer the community this unique chance to Play Our Part. We work closely with the club, particularly through our Trust representative on the board, and we see how hard everyone is working to make this a success. Everybody can see and feel the positive changes, from the ground itself to the atmosphere and particularly in our league position. After 47 years we have a huge chance to achieve our dream of being back in the Football League. It’s a unique opportunity and one which we hope that the community and the fan base will come on board with. We understand that the other owners are just fans like us, and we can’t expect four people to finance our club alone. This is OUR club now, and we have to play our own part in realising this shared dream.

  • How will the Trust raise the money? 

The Trust has committed to invest every penny above a £10,000 reserve from now on in Barrow AFC. We need that reserve to ensure that we can keep running buses to games, especially if we have a playoff or FA Trophy final to get to. This step change in how the Trust operates means that every raffle ticket, every bag of Haribo and every football card that we sell is now going toward that £65,000 total and toward the club we all want to see continue to grow and thrive.  But we know that, alone, this isn’t enough. The only way that we can succeed is by the collective support and generosity of our fan base and wider community once again getting behind us and playing their part.

  • Do individuals contributors get any recognition or benefits this time? 

Absolutely. Just like last time, anyone generously donating £10 or more will receive a new commemorative certificate noting their contribution amount. We’ve also collaborated with the club again to offer another tiered contribution system where giving various sums could get you perks, discounts, unique items and invitations to exclusive club events. See our website or ask in the Trust shop for more details on these tiers and the pricing.

  • Okay I’m sold. How can I contribute?

Contributions to shares can be made in the Trust shop, the club shop or online on the Trust website. If you buy in-store, you’ll be able to take your certificate away the same day. You’ll also see buckets appear around the ground and bar, and we’d be very grateful for any loose change that you’re able to give – lthough we can’t recognise this generosity with a certificate, it will be no less crucial to us achieving our fundraising goal. If you want to do more, we have lots of options. First of all, have you joined the Trust? If not, ask for a form at the next home game or sign up online on our website. The Trust will also be organising various fundraising events in the coming months. Please support these where you can. Hopefully they’re a fun way for the support to get together socially while raising some money at the same time. And of course please keep giving us your support in all the usual ways, whether you take part in our match-day raffle, football cards, travel on the buses or visit the Trust shop for refreshments. Everything helps!

  • Anything else I need to know?

Not really. We’d just like to say once again how seriously we take our obligation to you, our fellow fans. We wouldn’t be asking for money that we felt we couldn’t raise, nor that we felt would be wasted by the club’s owners. What we can all see is Ian Evatt’s perfect storm breaking before our eyes, and aside from any talk of ‘duty’ or ‘responsibility’ as ‘owners’ we all WANT to Play Our Part and make this happen. We want this community to have a Football League team again. Each and every one of us now needs to prove that commitment and come together for another challenge. This town and club have a proud history of being at our best when facing adversity. Now is the time to show it again.

  • Where can I find out more?

Our online and social media links are provided below, as well as the Trust’s email address. Keep in touch through all of these, but don’t be afraid to come and see us in the Trust shop or stop us in the ground. As we progress, the Trust will be giving regular updates on how we’re doing at raising our target.

Email address – info@bluebirdstrust.co.uk

Twitter – @BluebirdsST

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/bluebirdstrust/

  • Are my money and data safe?

Absolutely. Any money that you contribute will be held in a dedicated account and ring-fenced from all day-to-day Trust activities. Our bank accounts are controlled solely by responsible individuals nominated by the board. Any data that we collect from you will be securely stored and retained in compliance with GDPR.

“Barrow is more than a football club. It’s identity, it’s pride, it’s a sense of purpose.”
Ian Evatt
Barow AFC Manager

Contribution Benefits

CONTRIBUTIONS OF £10 OR MORE:

  • Personalised Contributor Certificate

CONTRIBUTIONS OF £50 OR MORE:

  • Personalised Contributor Certificate
  • Bronze Contributor Card, entitling you to:
    • PERSONALISED entry onto the ‘ALL BLUEBIRDS’ wall display on renovated Holker Street End

CONTRIBUTIONS OF £100 OR MORE:

  • Personalised Contributor Certificate
  • Silver Contributor Card, entitling you to:
    • PERSONALISED entry onto the ‘ALL BLUEBIRDS’ wall display on renovated Holker Street End
    • FREE limited edition ‘ALL BLUEBIRDS’ pin badge
    • PRIORITY ALLOCATION for FA Cup tickets (after season ticket holders) in 2020/21 season

CONTRIBUTIONS OF £500 OR MORE:

  • Contributor certificate
  • Gold Contributor Card, entitling you to:
    • PERSONALISED entry onto the ‘ALL BLUEBIRDS’ wall display on renovated Holker Street End
    • FREE limited edition ‘ALL BLUEBIRDS’ pin badge
    • PRIORITY ALLOCATION for FA Cup tickets (after season ticket holders) in 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons
    • EXCLUSIVE match day discounts scheme
    • FREE match ticket to first home game of 2020/21 season
    • INVITATION to exclusive ‘Meet the Manager’ event

CONTRIBUTIONS OF £1000 OR MORE:

  • Contributor certificate
  • Platinum Contributor Card, entitling you to:
    • PERSONALISED entry onto the ‘ALL BLUEBIRDS’ wall display on renovated Holker Street End
    • FREE limited edition ‘ALL BLUEBIRDS’ pin badge
    • PRIORITY ALLOCATION for FA Cup tickets (after season ticket holders) in 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons
    • EXCLUSIVE match day discounts scheme
    • FREE match ticket to first home game of 2020/21 season
    • INVITATION to exclusive ‘Meet the Manager’ event
    • 10% DISCOUNT on Advance Season Ticket for 2020/21 season
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