Pitch Improvement Programme
Sponsored by Parkers Pitches
The Suffolk FA Pitch Improvement Programme (PIP) sponsored by Parker’s Pitches aims to improve the standard of grass football pitches around Suffolk.
The PIP project, which is delivered in partnership with the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG), costs clubs £100 and consists of an initial visit which includes a 90-minute detailed site assessment in which the club will receive a personalised, informative and detailed pitch report.
The programme then enables Suffolk FA to provide detailed and bespoke advice and support to help the club with any future actions, funding applications or equipment needed to develop the site.
If the assessor confirms that the club are in need of new machinery, then this report will need to reference this to make applicants eligible for funding from the Football Foundation.
The New Croft, home of Haverhill Rovers, has benefited from work carried out by Parkers Pitches through the Pitch Improvement Programme
As part of the PIP, clubs also get access to discounted rates for machinery and consumables through FA preferred suppliers.
In addition to this, Suffolk FA can get partners involved in their Suffolk Groundsman Network which benefits from partner rates and offers across various suppliers in addition to free six-monthly Grass Pitch Management Events delivered by the IOG.
Through the PIP scheme, sites then receive a second free pitch report in 8-12 months’ time to assess what improvements have been made and any further support you need to improve your grass pitches.
Parkers Pitches are a Woolpit-based sports turf management firm who carry out PIP reports on behalf of Suffolk FA and the IOG.
Parkers Pitches was set up by Will Parker in 2015 with the help of his father, Tim Parker, who has more than 35 years expertise in the industry.
Under the partnership members of the programme can access discount on any work carried out on their pitch by Parkers Pitches within one year of the initial pitch report.
Parkers Pitches already work with various grassroots and National League System (Steps 1-7) clubs within Suffolk and have an impressive track record of supporting local grounds, at a competitive rate.
Peter Betts, Facilities & Football Development Manager at Haverhill Community Sports Association, said: “Haverhill Community Sports Association and Haverhill Rovers FC have been delighted with Parkers Pitches and the work they have carried out since starting with us back in June 2018.
“Parkers Pitches provide a hands-on service which is thoroughly professional, no matter what the problem Will and his team will always do their upmost to find a solution and support clubs.
“The huge benefit from a footballing perspective is the improved pitch has allowed the senior teams at the football club to play a certain brand of football which hasn’t always been achievable previously due to the poor pitch condition.
“The improved pitch condition has helped everyone involved from players, coaches and spectators who can now view more entertaining football.”
Dave Batley from Spexhall FC, who has been involved with the PIP scheme and Parkers Pitches since 2016, commented: “Following our initial pitch survey back in 2016, Will produced a detailed report on what he thought we should do, bearing in mind what we started with and keeping costs to a realistic level of affordability.
Spexhall FC have benefited from work carried out by Parkers Pitch through the Pitch Improvement Programme
“Our pitch was developed from a farm meadow with only drains suitable for farm and not a sports field. We had to cancel a lot of fixtures due to rainwater.
“We got on board with Will and developed a plan which we have used from the start that covers Pitch Verti-draining, Slicing, Weed Killing, Fertiliser and Re-Seeding. The results have been truly amazing we are on heavy land with meadow grass.
“We now rarely have to cancel games due to flooding, do not have any weeds but a good grass coverage gradually introducing the correct grass type. All in all, we now have a quality pitch which we pay for with a yearly 12 monthly installments contract. I do genuinely recommend Parkers Pitches and on top of that Will is extremely flexible to help in any way he can.”
Bacton United 89 groundsman Roger Lawson said: “Our club is proud of our pitches and we are striving to maintain them. We took part in the PIP programme with a view to gettng our pitches assessed and then act on any suggestions to improve them.
“The process to do this, with help from Jodie Allard at Suffolk FA, was simple and efficient. We had Phil Jeggo from the IOG booked for the assessment and his full written report came back speedily.
“Our committee then discussed the recommendations, and again with Jodie’s help we applied for, received and spent the grant money we had from the Football Foundation. Again this process was efficient and meant only completing a form, negotiating with suppliers, paying the invoices and then banking the grant money.
“I would really recommend the PIP programme as it informed us of our pitches needs.”