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Quakers fan groups work together to bring club back to Darlington
QUAKERS supporter groups are working together with the new community interest company towards the goal of bringing the club back to Darlington.
Darlington FC Community Interest Company (CIC) has begun a drive to raise awareness of its role.
The CIC will be the majority shareholder in the football club when it is capitalised – now due to take place ahead of the club's annual general meeting which will potentially be held in March next year.
Ian Wilkinson, Darlington FC 1883 board member who has responsibility for the CIC, said: “With the season well underway, the team established and off to a flying start and fan ownership and management of the club firmly in place, now is the right time to introduce more detail on the CIC.
“The CIC has two basic objectives - to work with supporters to maintain its position as the major shareholder in the club, thus safeguarding its future and in return to use the existence of the football club to make a positive difference within the community.”
The CIC has already launched a school link-up programme which sees 30 pupils from Darlington and south west Durham attend every home game.
The CIC is working with Darlington College students, who are designing a new website and logo for the group.
Talks have also been arranged with Darlington Council officials about putting in place a new youth academy, alongside team manager Martin Gray's own academy.
Mr Wilkinson said that by performing worthwhile tasks for the community, the CIC could make the club more attractive to sponsors and increase revenue.
“This relationship between the football club, the town and our community is important and one that arguably the club has been neglected over recent years,” he said.
“Through the power of football we can change attitudes and make a difference to people's lives.”
Members of Darlington Supporters Trust have begun helping with the work, alongside the supporters club, after trust members voted to be enrolled on the CIC.
Trust board member Paul Colman said the trust was particularly keen to help bring the club back to Darlington, with long-term plans currently being worked on giving the CIC a vital role.
Mr Colman said: “It's now time to put our heads above the parapet and get involved.”
The CIC has begun issuing a newsletter at home games to keep fans updated on its work.