More than a game

Premier League funds new floodlights for non-league club Brightlingsea Regent

13 Jun 2024

Isthmian League Division One North club benefit from Premier League Stadium Fund investment

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With energy-efficient LED floodlights installed in the 2023/24 season, extra-insulated changing rooms, a bore-hole-fed pitch-irrigation system and even owl houses made from recycled wood, Brightlingsea Regent FC is a football club doing things differently on the Essex coast.

The club compete in the Isthmian League Division One North, level eight of the English football pyramid. They are one of more than 1,000 clubs to have benefited from almost £200million of investment from the Premier League Stadium Fund, which provides grants to EFL, non-league and women’s clubs to improve their grounds and facilities.

Brightlingsea have accessed more than £172,000 in funding across nine separate grants since 2012, which have supported various improvements to the club’s ground. This includes investment to upgrade to new LED floodlights and make the switch from older halogen systems.

Brightlingsea Regent 2

The modern alternatives offer a brighter light source and do not require a warm-up period as well as being far more energy-efficient, resulting in fewer carbon emissions and lower bills.

The Premier League also provided funding to help the club recover from the effects of Storm Eunice in 2022, which caused serious damage to fencing, roofing and electrical systems.

Club chairman Terry Doherty said: “We’re an ambitious, local football club and are proud of the facilities we have for the level we compete at. We are grateful for the financial support and couldn’t have done what we have without the support of the Premier League.

Brightlingsea Regent FC

“Sustainability is important to us as a club, and we try to make small changes that hopefully add up to a larger impact.

“Things like reducing the amount of energy we use with LED floodlights, water consumption, double glazing and easy to implement initiatives like no single-use plastic cups feels like the right thing to do for the environment, but it also reduces our running costs.

“Elsewhere on our grounds, we are trying to encourage some of the local wildlife, with habitats for owls, kestrels, hedgehogs and badgers. We’ve even replanted some of the acorns the squirrels buried in our pitch and have a number of oak tree saplings.”

Nature activist and semi-professional footballer Tayshan Hayden-Smith, who joined Premier League Head of Sustainability Will Hutton in the 350-strong crowd for Brightlingsea Regent’s final match of the season, praised the club and Premier League's forward-thinking approach.

Brightlingsea Regent 1

“Football and nature are two of my major passions and the languages I speak," said Hayden-Smith. "I believe football has a massive role to play in planting the seeds of sustainability.

“It’s nice to see what Brightlingsea are doing to make change and it’s amazing to see something as big and vast as the Premier League has had its impact on a grassroots clubs like Brightlingsea.”

PL support for wider football

The investment at Brightlingsea Regent is part of the significant financial support the Premier League offers clubs throughout the English football pyramid.

Through the Premier League Stadium Fund, £192.7m of Premier League money has been invested into improving the stadiums and facilities of clubs in the EFL, National League System and Women's Football Pyramid since 2000. More than 5,630 grants have been provided to 1,083 clubs across 114 leagues.

More than a game PL-STADIUM-FUND-INFOGRAPHIC-16x9

Between 2022-2025, the League's commitment to investing £1.6billion to the wider game is the biggest voluntary contribution to communities and other good causes of any football league in the world. Of this, £400m will go to funding projects including the development of facilities and community and education programmes.

The Premier League will also provide approximately £16m of financial support to National League clubs in solidarity, Academy and community funding in that three-year period.

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