Council funding is helping a Northern League football club to improve security after it was targeted by vandals during a temporary closure.

Esh Winning Football Club was awarded the grant of £6,129 by Durham County Council’s Mid Durham Area Action Partnership (AAP), to help ensure the club building and its future as a football club are both protected whilst it is closed due to coronavirus restrictions.

Fourteen AAPs across County Durham were given a share of £1.4m by the council, to help respond to the coronavirus pandemic in their area. The grants were given to ensure that local projects received help to support people most in need and to help community venues and associations survive whilst they are temporarily closed. A further £100,000 fund was also made available for countywide initiatives.

The funding awarded to the football club will be used to secure its premises and enhance security whilst the club is not being used. It will contribute to urgent alarm repairs and installation of CCTV, at a time when the club’s buildings and grounds are more at risk to vandalism and anti-social behaviour. It will also cover other costs, such as utility bills, which the club is still required to pay whilst closed.

Nigel Quinn, commercial manager at Esh Winning Football Club, said: “We have a great relationship with Mid Durham AAP who have supported us in the past and it is good to know that they are there in times of crisis to help secure our club’s future and see us through this, hopefully short, unsettling period.”

Derek Snaith, Mid Durham AAP coordinator, said: “It is a real shame that people feel at this time, when many are suffering, that they can heap more misery on the club and the community by vandalising its premises. Fortunately, the funding we have is there to help in this kind of situation, where we recognise the vulnerability of some premises given their relative isolation because of their closure due to the pandemic.”

Find out more about Mid Durham AAP and its work to identify and tackle community priorities in its area at www.durham.gov.uk/mdaap

Further information about the 14 AAPs which cover the county can be found at www.durham.gov.uk/aaps