The key principles behind the programme are to provide clubs and their pitch providers with expert advice and practical solutions for developing and maintaining their grass pitches and improving playing surfaces across the county.
The current economic climate, growing pressures on our clubs and your feedback clearly demonstrate the need to focus on the quality of playing surfaces if we are to continue to develop players and ensure the game remains affordable to all. It is for these reasons that grass pitch improvement is one of the key performance targets for the County FA’s 2015-19 Strategy.
As part of the commitment to grass pitch improvement The FA have secured two commercial partnerships to support the development of the programme.
Redexim Charterhouse and Rigby Taylor are now assisting the programme by supplying grassroots clubs with discounted products and materials as well as attending the training workshops to provide demonstrations and advice to attending groundspeople. Further details from our partners can be found in the Useful Information section below.
Working with our Regional Pitch Advisor, Darren Symonds, the programme will consist of the following three main areas:
Pitch Assessment Visits
Darren and his team of professional ground staff will carry out site visits and offer practical and realistic advice on pitch maintenance based on a club’s budget, level of expertise, access to equipment and time available. Every participant will receive a summary report containing recommendations of how to progress the site’s maintenance programme as well as a 12 month follow-up visit to monitor progress and identify next steps. Visits are available to OFA identified clubs who own their own site or are responsible for pitch maintenance and their pitch providers and can be requested via the Expression of Interest Form.
The cost of the visit, report and follow up is £100. To support Oxfordshire FA affiliated Charter Standard Clubs the cost will be £50 with Oxfordshire FA covering the other half of the cost.
Pitch Assessment Visit reports may, where recommended, identify areas of need for further investment such as machinery or drainage. Where this is the case we will support you to use the report as the basis for funding applications to bodies such as the Football Foundation.
Education and Training
To widen the benefit of the programme we will also be delivering a series of interactive workshops where groundspeople and club officials will be able to gain more information on a wide range of areas as well as share ideas through a mixture of practical and theory based content.
More information about the scheme and the process can be found here.
Third Generation (3G) Astroturf Pitches
From the 2014/15 season, if a 3G pitch is not on The FA's approved list then it cannot be used for affiliated football matches. The list continues to be added to as more 3G pitches are tested. The link below is to The FA's official register. Just select 'Oxfordshire' from the drop down box (next to County FA heading) to see the pitches that have passed the 3G pitch test within the county.
If you would like more information on any aspect of the Pitch Improvement Programme please contact our Business & Facilities Manager, Andy Earnshaw, on 01993 894406.