Wokingham & Emmbrook, Binfield and Holyport are among a number of Berkshire’s grassroots and non league football clubs benefitting from a Football Foundation grant to help get pitches ready for the 2020/21 season, whenever that may be.
According to the Berks & Bucks County FA, 424 pitches in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire will benefit from £289,130 in grants from the Pitch Preparation Fund.
The fund was setup to support clubs during the Coronavirus pandemic, helping them to get pitches ready for the new season where the lack of revenue over the last three months would have seen many unable to do their annual pitch maintenance.
A statement on the funding award put out by Binfield FC revealed the Moles had been awarded £5,000, and the money can be put to a variety of uses: “They can use their grant towards to help pay for the cost of materials, work such as verti-draining, chain harrowing, rolling, over-seeding, fertilising, weed-killing, and routine preparatory work such as grass cutting and the setting out and line-marking of pitches.”
On the 7th May, the Football Association emailed competitions in the National League System about the new scheme which allowed grants of up to £5,000 with the application window open until Monday 25th May 2020.
The email confirmed which clubs were eligible: “FA National League System Clubs from Step 1-6 that maintain their own natural grass and third generation (3G) artificial grass pitches are eligible to apply for funding, as are grassroots football clubs and organisations, Welsh Cymru Premier League clubs, and clubs in The FA Women’s Pyramid (Tier 1-5).”
Who will benefit?
Apart from the clubs that we’ve seen have posted about successful applications on social media, we don’t know specifically which clubs have been awarded money from the grant, but the County FA has broken down the numbers within it’s membership:
- A total of 121 grants awarded
- £289,130 of investment
- 424 football pitches improved
- 1221 football teams benefiting
- 92 grassroots clubs awarded grants
- 29 clubs in the National League System awarded grants
According to a County FA statement: “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.”
What’s been said
Jonathan Wood, Head of Delivery, at Berks & Bucks Football Association, said: “It is fantastic
to see that over 120 clubs within the Berks & Bucks area have successfully applied for this
fund. The Football Foundation’s Pitch Preparation Fund has come at a crucial time for our
clubs, providing them much needed resource to ensure their pitches can continue to be
worked on in preparation for the new season. We look forward to working with them
moving forward to ensure that football within the area is played on good quality pitches.”
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
Robert Sullivan, Interim Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “This new
investment into Berks & Bucks 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 121 grants we’re announcing today
will help ensure 424 pitches across Berks & Bucks are in a good condition when the time
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 Berks & Bucks can sign up at thefa.hivelearning.com.
The Football Foundation is a charity funded by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England.