Football pitches across Somerset are set to be enhanced thanks to £205,000 worth of investment from a new scheme set up by the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation.
The Pitch Preparation Fund was set up in support of the game, which is currently facing unprecedented challenges because of the COVID-19 outbreak. It 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, £205,000 has been awarded to 85 clubs and organisations. This will allow 298 football pitches to be made match-fit, benefiting 754 local football teams.
How Somerset will benefit from the Pitch Preparation Fund in numbers:
- A total of 85 grants awarded
- £205,000 of investment
- 298 football pitches improved
- 754 football teams benefiting
- 65 grassroots clubs awarded grants
- 20 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.
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.
Rob Allan, County Development Manager at Somerset FA said: "The pitch preparation fund has been extremely well received by clubs all over Somerset during this difficult period. The clubs have lost all their income streams through football being stopped but it’s vitally important that they carry on maintaining their pitches otherwise they will be in no fit state when football does finally return. This fund has allowed clubs to carry out regular maintenance and much needed pitch improvements that take place during pre-season, without it many clubs quite simply couldn’t have carried out this important work. The Somerset FA and the 85 clubs that received funding are extremely grateful."
One of our clubs, Nailsea United said: "I must say the support given to clubs during this time has been outstanding, please pass on my feedback from Nailsea Utd. Small Grants to help with costs as well as removing things like affiliation fees for the new season really do make a difference when dealing with very tight and small budgets."
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 Somerset can sign up at: https://thefa.hivelearning.com/groundskeeping.
The Football Foundation is a charity funded by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England.