Free match-day parking on Save Pools Day to help boost club

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Council chiefs are to waive town centre car parking charges on Saturday as part of the campaign to save Hartlepool United.

Hartlepool Borough Council hopes that people who attend the sell-out match against Wrexham – and even those that don’t – will take advantage of the free offer and give what they would have spent on parking to an online appeal in aid of the club.

A parking meter in Hartlepool.

A parking meter in Hartlepool.

Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, the leader of the council, said: “The Council has been working hard behind the scenes to try to help the club overcome the severe financial difficulties that it currently faces.

“Work continues to try to secure its long-term future, but in the meantime the Council hopes this gesture will help to boost fundraising efforts that aim to enable the club to pay its bills in the short-term.

“All we are asking is that people using Council-managed town centre car parks and on-street pay and display parking donate what they would have paid in charges to the online appeal instead.”

There are fears that the club may be forced into administration if it doesn’t raise £200,000 by the end of the month.

Christopher Akers-Belcher

Christopher Akers-Belcher

A crowd-funding website appeal launched by supporter Rachel Cartwright has now topped £55,000 and donations can be mad at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/savehartlepoolunitedfootballclub

The Council-managed car parks that will be free from 8am-6pm are the multi-storey, the basement, Waldon Street, Roker Street, West Side, Open Market, Eastside, Eden Street, the transport interchange, Mill House, Dover Street, Andrew Street, Park Road (One Life) and Victoria Road. These have a total of 1,908 spaces. A further 57 on-street pay and display spaces in Tower Street, Gainford Street, Whitby Street and at the rear of York Road will also be free. The offer does not include resident and business permit-controlled parking areas, and does not extend to privately-controlled car parks.

Alongside the free parking offer, Council employees are doing their bit for the club by staging a Wear Your Pools Shirt to Work Day (Friday January 19). Staff can wear a Pools shirt – or they can just “dress down” if they don’t own a shirt – in return for a minimum donation of £1 to the online appeal.