Plans to transform Old Barn Way, the former home of Southwick Football Club into a new football and community hub have been announced by the Russell Martin Foundation (RMF).
The Sussex charity, set up in 2017 by Brighton-born former professional footballer Russell Martin revealed the plans today at a junior football session at the ground. RMF were awarded the lease to the ground in 2021 after it fell into disrepair and was deemed unfit for use. Football has recently returned to the site following an extensive refurbishment programme.
The next phase of the plans will see the transformation of the site into a new £2.5 million football and community hub which would include a new multipurpose clubhouse building and new floodlit 4G pitch which could be home to Southwick FC. The charity plan to deliver a range of their football, education and health programmes at the venue to benefit the local community.
The project is being supported by the Football Foundation and plans are expected to be submitted to Adur District Council shortly. It is hoped that the new facility could be open and up and running by 2025.
Russell Martin, Founder of Russell Martin Foundation, said:
“I have fond memories of playing at Old Barn Way as a young player growing up in Sussex, so it was really sad to see the state it had got into. We’ve put in a lot of work to bring it back into use for junior football but what we are really excited about is the next stage of our plans which would enable us to deliver our football and education programmes at Old Barn Way.
It’s important that it is used not just for football on Saturday but across the week and for a range of uses that benefit the community, but of course it will also be great to bring senior football back here with the new 4G facility.”
Councillor Neil Parkin, Leader of Adur District Council, added:
“It’s great to see Old Barn Way being used by the local community again for sport after being derelict for some time. Football and sport can bring so many wider benefits in terms of health and wellbeing, so we look forward to working together with the Russell Martin Foundation on the longer-term plans for the site and realising its full potential for the local community.”