LINCOLNSHIRE FA: Development team are up for challenges

A groundsman training workshop at Sincil Bank, home of Lincoln City
A groundsman training workshop at Sincil Bank, home of Lincoln City

All over the county at grassroots level, Lincolnshire Football Association’s development team are working hard to increase football participation and deliver on other key strands of the FA National Game Strategy effectively.

Head of football development Linzi Hewitt said: “My main responsibility is the management of the development team ensuring effective delivery of the National Game Strategy on a countywide basis, which is led by the FA.

Groundsman training workshop

Groundsman training workshop

“We are a team of seven within the development team including three full-time development officers over-seeing and strategically managing key elements of the NGS.

“I’ve been with the Lincolnshire FA for over six years. I was originally appointed as football development officer in January 2010 working with women’s and girls’ football.

“I progressed after two years into a more generic development position and benefit from learning across wider aspects of the NGS and was extremely proud to be formally appointed as head of football development in January 2016.

“Within the office I’ve worked in every role so I have a real understanding about a lot of programmes which we are delivering and thoroughly enjoy supporting and developing all the staff within the team.

“My specific work programme involves the improvement of playing and training facilities through investment and key development programmes.

“Within this strand of the NGS we have clear performance targets within Lincolnshire to achieve by 2019 – including the improvement of over 45 natural turf pitches and the development of eight new 3G football turf pitches achieved through targeting investment into key priority local authority areas.

“The most exciting programme to be involved in during the last six months has been the Pitch Improvement Programme.

“In Lincolnshire, we continue to work in partnership with regional pitch advisor Tom Rowley, from the Institute of Groundsmanship, and Phil Kime, professional groundsman at Lincoln City FC, to deliver The FA’s Pitch Improvement Programme supporting clubs, local authorities, parish councils and facility owners in the county 
who have an aspiration to improve their natural turf pitches.

“The programme offers three main strands, including visits giving sites individual pitch reports on the current quality of their natural turf pitches with clear recommendations for potential future maintenance programmes to improve the quality.

“This strand is inclusive of a second site visit 12 months later to assess the success of delivery.

“Other strands of the programme include groundsman training through professional qualifications and development workshops around summer renovations and winter maintenance on pitches and funding to support sites with the purchase of machinery or products to support 
improvements through FA key partners in the programme, Redexim Charterhouse and Rigby Taylor.

“The programme has already achieved significant success in Lincolnshire including widening and strengthening a key network of groundsmen in Lincolnshire supporting both professional roles and voluntary roles.

“As a development team we are forward-thinking and ever changing delivery methods to meet the current changes and demands of football within Lincolnshire.

“We are extremely proud of the work we do and the barriers we are attempting to overcome.

“The interviews with all the other staff in the development team will highlight and showcase the key areas of achievement and future priorities across all strands of the NGS.”