"It has allowed us to revolutionise the quality of the surface across the pitches we use. The difference is incredible."
PitchPower is an online app which can be used to unlock funding from the Football Foundation. Clubs use the app to complete pitch inspections, taking pictures of the grounds and sending them to be assessed. By completing an inspection, Clubs can gain access to the Grass Pitch Maintenance Fund, providing them with money to complete essential pitch maintenance and improvements.
As a part of our commitment to improving playing surfaces across the County, Gloucestershire FA is encouraging all Clubs to learn more about the Grass Pitch Maintenance Fund and to complete an assessment. We spoke to two local Clubs who have used PitchPower before to provide more information about the process and the funding that can be accessed.
When did you first complete a PitchPower inspection?
Stratton: November 2020
Golden Hill Sonics: February 2021
How long does the process take from completing the inspection to receiving the funding?
Stratton: On average, around 2 - 4 weeks
Golden Hill Sonics: The initial one took a couple of months. After that, the renewals take 2 - 3 weeks.
How much funding have you been able to access?
Stratton: It is circa £25k a year to cover 3 mini pitches, 2 x 7-a-side, 3 x 9-a-side and 3 x 11-a-side pitches.
Golden Hill Sonics: About £23,000.
What have the key benefits been? What improvements have you seen?
Stratton: It has allowed us to revolutionise the quality of the surface across the pitches we use. The difference is incredible and will often trigger positive comments from visiting teams. It has also helped reduce the number of cancellations we had.
Golden Hill Sonics: An improvement in the amount of grass coverage. Drainage is improving. More games are able to be played.
Would you recommend the scheme to other clubs?
Stratton: Yes, definitely.
Golden Hill Sonics: Absolutely. There was very little investment in the playing surface before this scheme became available. Hopefully it's helped change the mindset of the ground owners by showing that by investing in these maintenance tasks, the playing surface can be improved, therefore making it a more enjoyable experience for all involved.
What advice would you give to clubs regarding the process?
Stratton: Take the time to invest in doing the work needed to generate the grant. The process is quick and simple in the initial stages then 2 / 3 visits per pitch to report back on improvements. It is worth buying a soil sampler!
Golden Hill Sonics: Do it! For the reasons stated above. Get a good tool for doing the soil samples.
The Gloucestershire FA would like to thank Brian Henniker of Golden Hill Sonics and Jon Cummins of Stratton Youth for their time in helping us with this article.
To check if your club is eligible to apply for the Grass Pitch Maintenance Fund, please see below or click here for full information.
To learn more you can also contact our Football Development Officer (facilities and investment), Hamish Hurst: Hamish.Hurst@GloucestershireFA.com
Click here to sign up for our upcoming pitch maintenance workshop!