An Eccles based Boys & Girls Club has been recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours.

Barton AC has been in existence for over 60 years but has been on something of a rollercoaster journey over the last 10 or 15 years. But now, thanks to the amazing efforts of the clubs volunteers, the club has now built it’s own home, for the first time in it’s history, and now been recognised for it’s contribution to and it’s place in the community

In 2007, Barton AC were evicted from their long-term home at the Scout’s Drill Hall on Cromwell Road in Eccles. Nobody new what lay ahead for them, but the ‘Save Barton AC’ campaign was started, and a new chapter was about to be written in the club’s history.

Thanks to sheer weight of determination and support from the local community, the club moved around a number of temporary homes.

Before long, Salford City Council had found a piece of land where the club could build their own facility. All that was needed now was the funds to be able to do so.

Suffice to say, that over the next 10-years, the volunteers at the club raised over £700,000 in grants and support. Enough to build a state-of-art Boxing, Wrestling, Weight Lifting and running and fitness club, that rivals any commercial gym you will find.

Club Chairman, Vice President and Treasurer of Barton AC.
Left to right, Vice President of Barton Frank Blackburn, Club Chairman Malcolm Moncrief and Treasurer John Lightfoot, join together to officially open the new Barton AC building.

The difference is, that Barton AC is genuinely community-based club, built and run by local people, for local people.

On the weekend of Friday 7th January 2019, Barton ‘officially’ opened – although they have been open and running for the last 5 years. The club wanted to celebrate the great victory they had achieved in going from ‘no home’ to a new almost ‘palatial home.’ They wanted to thank all those who had supported them - either financially, or through gifts of time, equipment and expertise. But they also wanted to celebrate the amazing voluntary efforts of the many volunteers from the club who committed time, money and effort to securing the future of this valuable community club.

Inside the marquee at the Barton AC opening weekend.
Inside the marquu at the Barton AC opening weekend.

Over that weekend Barton erected a large marquee and opened the doors to volunteers, supporters and the public and celebrated all that had been achieved. The weather may have been more than a little damp, but the celebrations certainly weren’t.

The icing on the cake came in the week leading up to the celebratory weekend when the club found out that they had been awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Service in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. A fitting conclusion to this part of the story. But as the club Chairman Malcolm Moncreiff would undoubtedly say, it’s only the conclusion of this chapter. Thanks to the efforts of all concerned, there will be much more to come now that they have a permanent home and they have great plans for what they want to do next – watch this space!!

Congratulations to EVERYONE at Barton AC. Your Queen’s Award is well deserved – from all at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Manchester.