The FA launched an £8 million commitment to improve natural turf (grass) football pitches across the country.
Over four years, The FA will implement the Pitch Improvement Programme (PIP) which will deliver improvements to more than 2,000 pitches – a central pillar of the organisation’s 2015-19 Strategy for Participation and Development.
The need for this service is more relevant now than ever, given the current economic times and the pressures facing grassroots football.
The recent grassroots survey has again highlighted that football pitch quality is affecting participation and in anticipation of this and the current economic climate affecting local authority pitch maintenance, the FA Facilities & Investment Team has been working in partnership with the industry to develop a grass pitch maintenance service that can be utilised by grassroots football clubs with the simple aim of improving the quality of grass pitches.
The Lincolnshire FA has teamed up with the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) and Lincoln City FC to deliver the PIP in Lincolnshire.
The key principles behind the programme are to provide football clubs with advice and practical solutions for developing and maintaining their grass pitches and improving playing surfaces across the county.
Working with our pitch advisors Tom Rowley and Phil Kime, the programme will consist of local pitch assessments and advice backed up by a number of informative workshops and networking events.
The focus of the visits will be to support clubs and facility providers with information tailor made to their level of expertise, budget available equipment and capacity. Every participant will receive a summary report containing recommendations of how to progress the site’s maintenance programme as well as potential support to access Football Foundation funding for additional equipment.
The official roll out and launch of the PIP in Lincolnshire follows extensive piloting which has already seen over £30,000 invested and more than 70 grassroots football pitches visited by trained advisors.
PIP has already proven to be a tremendous resource for many grassroots clubs and in addition, through the introduction of local partnerships with Lincoln City FC and Phil Kime, local professional groundsman, the credibility and quality of the programme has significantly improved.
We would urge any clubs who own their grounds or with responsibility for their pitch maintenance to get in touch with the Lincolnshire FA and access training, guidance, discounts and potential funding to support with improving the quality of their grass pitches.