The Sport England National Lottery funding will have GBP 5 million available over the next three years to support the improvement of grass pitches. The fund is being delivered in partnership with the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation.
This investment forms part of the Foundation’s multi-sport commitment, which will see the charity invest 40% of its investment into multi-sport projects that support both football and an additional sport, such as rugby, cricket, netball, and basketball, by 2025.
Clubs will be provided with a bespoke 10-year maintenance plan by the Grounds Management Association to improve their pitches which consists of a six-year tapered grant, providing up to GBP 3,600 for every ‘match equivalent’ pitch in the first two years and tapered down over the remaining period. This funding can then be used to employ contractors and purchase materials to improve their facilities.
The funding is available for the hiring of a contractor to do:
- Selective herbicide (weed treatment)
- Top dressing
The money can also be used to buy fertilizers, seed, topsoil or a soil sampler as well as for the hiring of maintenance machinery for works that have been recommended in a PitchPower report. Club volunteers operating the machinery must have completed their GMA Level 1 course.
To be eligible, clubs need to complete a PitchPower Assessment Report and have the appropriate permissions to complete the recommended work
The Rugby Football League’s Facilities Manager, Tom Little, says:
“We are really excited to see the positive impact that the Grass Pitch Maintenance Fund will make in Community Rugby League. Our data suggests pitches are severely overplayed, so this investment and training should not only improve pitch quality, but also support our volunteer workforce to understand and protect their pitches for the long term.
“Community Rugby League Clubs are at the heart of the game, and this funding will help ensure that there are good quality pitches available for the foreseeable future and I would urge everyone who is eligible clubs to use our how-to videos and templates to help with their application.”
Little pointed out that Club Health Check’s and Development Plans should be provided to John McMullen or Tom Little before submitting application to the Grass Pitch maintenance Fund. No applications will be processed without these being provided. All of the required templates and extra information can be found on the RFL website.
More information on the Grass pitch maintenance fund, can be found here.