0 Yateley United improves grass pitches thanks to PitchPower

One of the most important aspects of playing football is the quality of the pitch that teams get to run out on - in the last full season over 150,000 football matches were postponed due to unplayable pitches. However, the Football Foundation is on a mission to revolutionise the quality of grass pitches across England to ensure cancellations and postponements become a thing of the past.

Clubs and organisations that are responsible for maintaining grass pitches are being encouraged to download PitchPower - the Football Foundation's game-changing web app for completing and submitting grass pitch inspections. Once an inspection has been submitted, experts at the Grounds Management Association (GMA) produce a report, outlining bespoke recommendations to improve pitch quality. This report then serves as a gateway to apply for the funds and access the resources needed to help improve their grass pitches.

One club which is experiencing first hand the difference PitchPower can make is Yateley United FC. Based in Hampshire, Yateley have been using PitchPower since March 2021 and are already reaping the rewards at their home site.

Club Treasurer, Stuart Ive, tells their story: "Up until we discovered and started using PitchPower we did minimal close season works on our 8 pitches during the summer just to keep them in an okay position. There are five of us on the committee who are responsible for the grounds so began to look into pitch maintenance. We undertook a lot of research to identify what we needed to do - and the main thing was to improve drainage so we did some fundraising to pay for it and it had a massive impact."

"Once we did this we realised just how much potential there was for improving the pitches - we just needed some regular funding. We discovered it was possible to apply for funding from the Football Foundation and it has been a great resource for knowledge."

Before - patchy with drainage issues / After - lush, even grass coverage

PitchPower

"We started using the PitchPower web app to do the assessment to find out the state of our pitch. The app is really easy to use - it walked it through the process and once we did one pitch it was really simple to do the remaining pitches because you just get into a rhythm and it only took about three hours to complete. It's little effort for really big rewards. Now we have three people sharing the load to ensure we aren't reliant on just one person to do this."

Access to Funding

Yateley United FC provide a wide football offering with Men's, Women's, Development and Walking Football teams. In 2020, the club received a £451K grant to build a brand new changing pavilion for the local community and, more recently, have benefitted from Grass Pitch Maintenance and Grass Pitch Maintenance Machinery funding to implement the recommendations of their PitchPower report.

Stuart continues: "As a result of using PitchPower, we have been able to access funding for our maintenance based on what the results of the inspection have demonstrated we need. So far we've been scarifying, verti-draining, top dressing, over-seeding and herbiciding. It's really early days - we got our first set of funding in May but we are already seeing improvement. And people are really noticing - other managers coming to the grounds are now commenting on how good the pitches are!"

"Our U16-U18 pitch was in such a state - now the U17 manager says the transformation is amazing - he even said 'We've never been able to play the type of football we've wanted to play on these pitches and now we can'. I hope this will lead to our players developing and honing their skills - the wider benefits of a good pitch are great."

"For anyone starting out their grass pitch improvement journey, I would say: don't be scared of it - it's not as much work as you think it'll be. It's not as daunting or hard as it sounds and the reward will be worth it."

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