SMISA members and fans will be aware that an election process is underway to fill vacancies on the SMISA Board. One of the candidates referred to a grant application, initiated by Kibble, for funding under the auspices of the Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RCGF). Given the nature of the wording within that candidate statement, the Club Board wish to clarify the details regarding this matter, including the diligence undertaken in September/October 2022.
During the September 2022 Board meeting the Directors became aware of, and discussed, a proposal to build a Wellbeing Centre in Ferguslie Park and a funding application to the RCGF. All St Mirren Football Club Directors were in attendance. A Stage 1 Application had been submitted for RCGF funding and it was successful in moving to Stage 2 of the process. The application cited Kibble, The St Mirren Charitable Foundation and Renfrewshire Council as leading the application, the Club nor the Charitable Foundation had been engaged prior to the submission as this was very early stages of the process. It should be noted that historic discussions and meetings around the development of the Ferguslie Master Plan, including the potential development of a Wellbeing Centre, had taken place with Club Board members, Renfrewshire Council senior officials and other stakeholders.
From the discussions that took place at the St Mirren Football Club Board meeting on 29 September 2022 it became clear that the matter would require further conversation with the Charitable Foundation and that the Club should maintain interest in this matter to establish if the project offered any tangible benefit going forward. It was agreed that timely and appropriate discussions must take place regarding any potential projects in future to ensure that all stakeholders, directly involved or otherwise, were aware of the approach that was being taken.
Regarding the suggestion that St Mirren Football Club was expected to offer its land for the proposed Wellbeing Centre, this was not the case. The application was unspecific as to the precise location of the proposed building, but a crucial element of the plan was that the Wellbeing Centre would be built on one of several long-term derelict sites in the Ferguslie area, not on land owned by St Mirren.
Given the need to align other stakeholders, a meeting with the Charitable Foundation took place, and subsequently the Charitable Foundation Board agreed to support the Stage 2 application for RCGF funding, given the complementary nature of the establishment of a Wellbeing Centre in the area.
The Club Board, having confirmed that alignment on the proposal had been achieved, was content that the matter had been concluded appropriately from a St Mirren Football Club perspective. As highlighted, a watching brief on the progress of the application was applied to establish it there were any opportunities for the Club arising from the initiative. The Club Board will always be supportive of any regeneration and development of the area surrounding the stadium if it is complementary to the best interests of the Club.
Notification that the application was unsuccessful was received in January 2023, and the matter is now closed.
It is also worth noting by way of background information that the Club own a parcel of land adjacent to the stadium. Any sale or transfer of that asset, or any other element of the St Mirren estate, would require to be subject to a robust process. This would include being professionally valued, recommended by a majority of the Directors and approved by Club Shareholders as part of the legal Shareholder Agreement.
To reiterate the information outlined above regarding the RCGF application, no St Mirren Football Club land was ever part of the application or discussion hence these arrangements were never required.
There have been other parties who have proposed the development of the stadium facilities and these, when they have been suggested, have been treated in a similar manner to the RCGF application by the St Mirren Football Club Board.
Like all fans, the Club Board are looking forward to the next five games that see our Club in the Top Six of the SPFL for the first time, we want everyone to enjoy the games, get right behind the team and are looking forward to a positive end to one of the most successful seasons in our Club's history.