Development of a stand at New Countess Park

Since September 2020 the club has been on a bit of a transformation journey.  Following months of hard work, the first visible steps appeared in January 2021 with the attainment of both our SFA licence and the change of the club to be incorporated as a Community Interest Company.

During the earlier licensing improvements the club had secured a new 25 year lease at New Countess Park. The Board felt the next stages of development for the football club required us to further improve our supporter experience and build a stand.

While we recognised that we already enjoyed first class facilities at Hallhill, which also planned further improvement works in 2021, we wanted to maximise our facilities and offer a truly first class match day experience for all football supporters.

After assessing various options the club opted for a stand at the Hallhill end of the ground.  The Hallhill side was selected as the existing covered standing there had fallen into a very poor state of repair, after 20 years with limited maintenance. We also recognised the habits of our many existing supporters, the majority of whom, already preferred to stand at the Hallhill end. Building at the Hallhill end also supported our accessibility agenda as it provided close proximity to the other spectator facilities in our ground.

Stadium Solutions were chosen to build the stand.  They are both experts in their field and their price point was difficult for any local suppliers to match on a one-time basis.  However, recognising our “shop local” focus we selected local firm A.G. Thomson & Sons to build the substantial foundations that would be required.

Improved access for supporters with disabilties

Everyone at Dunbar United recognises that the club receives huge support from our community.  It was therefore vital to us, that when improving the ground, that we made sure that the ground was accessible for everyone in our community who enjoys football.

As part of attaining our SFA licence earlier in 2021 we made a number of improvements to facilities.  However, we recognised that covered facilities for supporters who arrive at our games in wheelchairs was limited.  We therefore ensured our new stand included wheelchair access.

Support from our community

With a fairly “loose plan”, we needed financial support to make it happen.  The first to get onboard was home shirt sponsor Eve Coaches.  Gary Scougall of Eve’s was quick to agree to a suggestion, from our Chairman, of a 10 year sponsorship of the new stand and hence work really could begin in earnest in making the “Eve Community Stand” a reality.

Next up we had some fantastic support from the Alexander Amos’ Charitable Trust.  They had supported the club in late 2020, when we were working to attain our SFA licence, and following a visit from the Trustees to the ground in late 2021 they were so impressed they were also quick to get on board and back our proposed development.

We also secured funding from the East Lothian Council’s Community Intervention Fund, without which the project would never have got off the ground.  The Community Intervention Fund were keen to see the ground be made more accessible for the local community, and they also recognised the potential of the ground beyond just Dunbar United’s senior team.

Finally we made a call, via our hugely popular social media platforms, to our growing army of supporters. Supporters old and new were quick to get involved and have each sponsored £100 to back the project.  The supporters who backed our project are listed on this webpage.

While led by the Board of Dunbar United, for the benefit of our supporters, all in all it has been a huge community effort.

The hard work to improve New Countess Park continues...

We have several further improvements in plan, the development of a new snack bar to move foot fall from the congested area at the railway end where the players leave and enter the park and toilets are located are now in progress.  The existing snack bar will then be converted into a managers office, replacing the office lost in the creation of a physio room in 2021.

We also plan to increase the height of the fence behind the railway end to reduce the number of lost balls that occur.  No doubt there will be more plans that emerge…