FOOTBALL pitches across Suffolk are set to be enhanced thanks to £144,000 worth of investment from a new scheme.
The Pitch Preparation Fund was set up by the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation in support of the game, which is currently facing unprecedented challenges because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The fund is providing grants to clubs that have lost out on normal revenue streams during this difficult period and helping them to get their pitches ready for when it is safe to play football again, following Government advice.
The Fund was greeted with a hugely positive response in the two-and-a-half weeks the application window was open during May.
As a result, Suffolk will benefit from the Pitch Preparation Fund as follows:
- A total of 66 grants awarded
- £144,000 of investment
- 201 football pitches improved
- 707 football teams benefiting
- 47 grassroots clubs awarded grants
- 19 clubs in the National League System awarded grants
As a result of the exposure of the Pitch Preparation Fund, the Football Foundation also received an increase of 176% in its regular facility grant applications during May, compared with April. So many more football sites will be improved over and above those receiving Pitch Preparation Fund grants.
Suffolk FA Football Development Manager Jodie Allard said: “With the increased financial challenges that clubs have been facing since the start of the pandemic, the Pitch Preparation Fund has been a welcome support for those who are responsible for maintaining preparing their pitches for next season.
“The feedback we have received from clubs has been overwhelmingly positive and it’s pleasing to see so many taking advantage of this opportunity to continue to improve their pitch provision for their members.
“We will continue to work with clubs, and our wider football partners, to support the development of pitches across the county. Congratulations to all those clubs who were successful in their applications for the Pitch Preparation Fund.”
Robert Sullivan, Interim Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “This new investment into Suffolk will provide crucial support for football in the area.
“Our national game is a proven driver of mental and physical health benefits, so it’s important local pitches are match-fit in the event that the Government announces it’s safe for the game to start again.
“That is why we’ve worked with the Premier League, The FA, the Government and Sport England to set up the Pitch Preparation Fund. These 66 grants we’re announcing today will help ensure 201 pitches across Suffolk are in a good condition when the time comes.”
The grants awarded will help with essential maintenance works toward grass pitches, including vertical decompaction, slitting, over seeding, fertilising and weedkilling, as well as routine preparatory works such as grass cutting and the setting out and line marking of pitches. For artificial surfaces, eligible works include deep cleaning, overmarking and FA pitch testing.
Clubs and other organisations are also being given access to the Football Foundation Groundskeeping Community. This is a free online resource the Foundation developed with The FA and the Grounds Management Association, containing advice and guidance. Anyone in Suffolk can sign up by clicking here
The Football Foundation is a charity funded by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England.