FUNDING for ambitious plans to relocate Vectis Youth Football Club from Newchurch to meet its growing demands, are being considered by the Hampshire FA and national charity, the Football Foundation.

The club, based at Watery Lane since it was formed in 2014, thanks to the backing of Newchurch Sports and Community Association, aim to move to a ten-acre brownfield site at Hale Common, near Arreton, by the turn of 2022.

Vectis Youth, which has been expanding in popularity at rate that has bucked the trend elsewhere on the Isle of Wight and beyond, need to expand its operation to meet ever-increasing demand to join.

Their project is to create a site with eight FA-approved grass pitches for five, seven, nine and 11-a-side, with drainage, as well as a clubhouse, changing rooms, storage and parking for 200 cars.

The club has already had encouraging discussions with the Hampshire FA and the Football Foundation, the UK’s biggest sporting charity, over the feasibility of the project and its funding.

“As we move forward as a club and continue to grow, the committee is determined not to stand still,” stressed Vectis Youth chairman, James Brewer.

On Monday, Vectis met with Hampshire FA and Football Foundation representatives at the site to outline the project.

Vectis have already agreed a 25-year lease with local landowners for the Arreton site.

“The meeting was positive and, if we can get planning permission, we’d be in a strong position to get funding — but there’s much work that needs to be done before we get to that stage,” explained Stuart Harris, the club’s child welfare officer and head of Charter Standard.

Vectis desperately need to expand, having seen the club grow from five teams to the 17 (including three dedicated girls teams) they now boast, with 184 kids signed up, aged from under-seven to under-16.

They are keen to extend the age range from reception to mature adult and want to register a team in the Island Saturday League next season, which is currently under discussion with the Isle of Wight Football Association.

Vectis also aim to establish a ladies team.

Season by season, the scheduling of matches and parking has become increasingly difficult for Vectis — and is predicted to only get worse in the not-too-distant future.

By creating new facilities, Vectis say they aim to improve the matchday experience for players and spectators.

“With the number of teams we now have, it’s getting harder to get all the games played in one place,” added Stuart.

“Vectis has grown so much that we need a bigger site, rather than expand with satellite sites.

“It is a big dream and we are all excited about it.

“We all hope to be at our new site by Christmas 2021, but the project is dependent on planning permission and whether we can secure funding.

“We’re not naive. It’s going to take an awful lot of blood, sweat and tears to get there, but we will build it.”

Vectis will continue to train and play matches at Newchurch for at least the next two seasons.