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Staffordshire FA and Campey continue partnership

Staffordshire FA and Campey continue partnership: Following on from a successful working relationship with Campey Turf Care over several years, including the development of a formal partnership in 2020, Staffordshire FA is delighted to extend our partnership with Campey Turf Care for the 2021/22 Season, as the Association’s recommended equipment supplier.

One of the key strands of the Staffordshire FA grass pitch improvement strategy, is to support our clubs and grounds persons to be able to invest in quality equipment to maintain their playing surfaces, and for several years now, Campey Turf Care have developed an excellent reputation and relationships with many clubs across Staffordshire.

Staffordshire FA and Campey continue partnership

Staffordshire FA and Campey continue partnership

As the Football Association and Football Foundation continue to invest in the ongoing improvement of grass pitches, there has never been a better time for grassroots clubs to embrace the support and resources which can enhance their playing surfaces, and subsequently improve the experience of their members.

Gareth Thomas, Partnerships & Communications Officer: “Staffordshire FA have been actively working to improve grass pitches across the county since 2012, and we continue to be very encouraged by the positive impact our programme is having. However, there is still plenty of work to do with over a thousand pitches across the county, and we can only achieve our objectives by working together with various key partners across the industry.”

“Campey Turf Care have played a key part in supporting Staffordshire FA and our member clubs during that period, not only with the supply of quality equipment, but also via valuable education and aftercare with our clubs and volunteers, and support with the educational workshops we deliver.

He continued: “Grassroots football clubs can access support via the Football Foundation ‘Pitch Power’ process, which in turn provides clubs with a detailed report and recommendations from our Regional Pitch Advisor at the Grounds Management Association. Included within each Pitch Power report is a section on recommended equipment, which clubs can then access 75% funding for, via a grant from the Football Foundation.”

“On receipt of their Pitch Power report, clubs across Staffordshire regularly ask us where they can access quality equipment to invest in; having a trusted partner like Campey Turf Care really assists the County FA and our clubs with that process, and we look forward to developing the partnership and supporting more of our clubs in 2021/22 and beyond.”

John Campey, Director at Campey Turf Care, commented: “We are delighted to extend our involvement with Staffordshire FA for the coming season. Working together we have provided a vital link between manufacturer/supplier and those in the field. Combining our innovation and expertise in product design with education and hands-on experience from grassroots clubs is a powerful step in achieving best practise at every level.”

For further information on the Staffordshire FA grass pitch improvement strategy and how your club can benefit from the programme, please contact: support@staffordshirefa.com

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Dennis & SISIS partner with Staffordshire FA

Dennis & SISIS partner with Staffordshire FA: Dennis and SISIS and the Staffordshire Football Association have announced a new partnership which is set to benefit grassroots pitches throughout the county.

For nearly 100 years Dennis and SISIS have been providing world class turf maintenance equipment; from Premier League to grassroots sports clubs, there are solutions available to suit all surfaces and budgets.

Dennis & SISIS partner with Staffordshire FA

Dennis & SISIS partner with Staffordshire FA

The two British manufacturers have been long-term supporters of grassroots sports; frequently offering training and education to eager-to-learn volunteers. The new partnership with the Staffordshire FA is set to benefit grassroots football and will be a key component in the Football Association’s goal of improving a total of 20,000 grass pitches across England over the next decade.

“We have just over 1,100 pitches in total across the county,” said Staffordshire FA Partnerships and Communications Officer, Gareth Thomas. “This consists of local authority pitches, educational sites, privately owned pitches, and that is everything from 11-a-side down to mini soccer. We’ve got approximately 500 clubs which equates to about 2000 teams, and we want all of those teams playing on the best surfaces they can.”

Toby Clarke, of Dennis and SISIS, praised the work of Staffordshire FA and revealed the companies delight at being a part of the programme.

“The Staffordshire FA is a very pro-active organisation and Gareth and his team, which consists of Andy Jackson (Stoke FC Grounds Manager), Kevin Duffill (GMA Regional Pitch Advisor) and Kevin Staples (Staffordshire FA Head of Delivery), work extremely hard for grassroots football.

“We are looking forward to supporting Gareth, Andy, Kevin and Kevin, out in the field to help provide the clubs with the right machines for the right jobs.”

The FA’s grass pitch improvement strategy has been a huge success with over 6,000 pitches already benefiting throughout the UK. The strategy enables grassroots football clubs, who manage and maintain their own pitches, to gain significant funding to support them in improving their pitches on an annual basis.

Gareth continued: “I have been challenged, as part of my role, to try and generate partnerships which can help our grass pitch programme be as impactful as it can be.

“For us, having such a recognised partner as Dennis and SISIS on-board, adds a huge amount of value to what we are trying to achieve. We want clubs to have the right equipment for the job and we know that Dennis and SISIS supply that equipment – they have a fantastic track record for doing that in this county.

“We look forward to having the support of Dennis and SISIS – not just for the equipment but also from the educational support they provide as well.”

A video about the partnership can be viewed by visiting https://youtu.be/fPFpyX3h9Ck

Further information about the range of maintenance products available can be found by visiting www.dennisuk.com / www.sisis.com.

For more news, reviews and insightful views, you can follow Dennis on Twitter and Instagram @DennisMowers and SISIS @SISISMachinery. You can like the Facebook page – www.facebook.com/DennisMowersUK and www.facebook.com/SISISMachinery.

You can also view the latest Dennis and SISIS videos by visiting www.youtube.com/DennisMowers and www.youtube.com/SISISMachinery

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Campey partnership with Birmingham FA

Campey partnership with Birmingham FA: Campey Turf Care Systems are proud to announce a new partnership with Birmingham County Football Association (BCFA) that will see the company service grassroots football teams in the Black Country, Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire.

The push towards improving grassroots pitches in England has become a central goal for the Football Association. The overall target is to have five thousand pitches assessed as Good or Better by 2024.

Campey partnership with Birmingham FA

Campey partnership with Birmingham FA

The reform of the grading process along with new funding opportunities prompted BCFA’s Facility and Investment Lead, Oliver Hitchcox, to seek out a machinery partner to ensure clubs were well informed and getting the backup service they need.

“The vast majority of the reports that we get identify a need for new or additional maintenance kit and equipment,” Oliver explains. “We’ve signposted a lot of clubs for funding towards that equipment so often because clubs don’t have a huge amount of expertise in that area, and they tend to come to me or our Grounds Management Association (GMA) Regional Pitch Advisor, Kevin Duffill, asking for the best places to get quotes. We’d already had a fair few clubs who had engaged with Campey and were really enthusiastic about the support they had from them.

“I wanted to get a partner on board so that we had someone we could direct people towards who we knew were going to provide value for money in terms of the kit and offer a really good level of customer service and support for our clubs. So, I contacted John at Campey, and we had a conversation around what we could do.

“They had recently done something similar with Staffordshire FA, so they knew the landscape in terms of what we were looking to do and it’s a really good fit because of the customer service that they offer clubs. Campey has been going out to sites to demo products and taking clubs through that process of what the machinery and equipment can do, how to use it properly and then all the aftercare is really beneficial. So, from our perspective, we know that we can direct clubs to somewhere where they will be well looked after.

“I was speaking to a club last week who we have just supported with some funding, and they said exactly that. The local rep had been out on-site to demo all the kit and take them through that process. When they deliver the equipment, they give a good installation in terms of operation and management and then again, we have the aftercare. They are always on hand with any queries or issues that come up.

“Having someone who works locally who can actually go and visit people is definitely a benefit rather than just having people on the phone or email. That personal contact is really important.”

Every year the FA conducts the grassroots football survey, and a constant theme is the condition of pitches. Good quality surfaces are vital when it comes to attracting new players to the game and retaining them is equally important, and a challenge the Birmingham FA is actively addressing.

As well as funding from The Football Foundation, clubs can also access BCFA’s own grant that help bridge the gap of the remaining 25% cost of machinery from the 75% Football Foundation grant.

Clubs who would like further information on the funding available to them should contact the Birmingham FA or visit www.birminghamfa.com

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Campey announce partnership with Staffordshire FA

Campey announce partnership with Staffordshire FA: Campey Turf Care Systems and the Staffordshire Football Association have announced a formal partnership with the aim of improving the quality of grassroots pitches in the county.

Over the years as individual entities, both Campey and Staffordshire FA have championed the importance of quality pitches in grassroots football with a focus on increased participation in the game. Nationally, the Football Association aims to improve 20,000 grass pitches across England in the next decade, and whilst at the early stages of that journey, Staffordshire FA Partnerships and Communications Officer, Gareth Thomas, is confident the county can play their part with the help of Campey.

Campey announce partnership with Staffordshire FA

Campey announce partnership with Staffordshire FA

“Since 2012 we’ve been working on various initiatives to raise the standards of grassroots football pitches in our county, and at the beginning of that process our local pitch advisor, Stoke City FC Grounds Manager, Andy Jackson, recommended Campey. We were also aware of Campey from the branding on many of the machines we saw during those early visits, along with the positive feedback we received from clubs,” Gareth explains.

“We’ve had an informal relationship with Campey going back eight years, and we wanted to formalise that to continue to help more clubs across Staffordshire. With the support of Campey, we can keep developing our programme to make as big an impact as possible.”

“One of the reasons our clubs provide positive feedback on Campey is the training that they receive when they invest in machinery, along with the ongoing aftercare. If a new club volunteer comes on board, someone from Campey is at the end of a telephone to talk them through it and if required visit the site.”

“We’ve seen the benefit of that service already at local grassroots football facility sites such as Trubshaw Cross who took on a ten-pitch site from their local council in 2015 and have transformed the pitches with the help of advice and guidance from Campey.”

“They are just one example; we’ve got some excellent case studies across Staffordshire where our programme has been really beneficial to grassroots football. Having worked at the County FA for several years now, I think our grass pitch improvement programme has been one of our most positive and impactful programmes.”

Despite the difficult situation facing grassroots football clubs since Covid-19 disrupted the sport in March 2020, many clubs have used it as an opportunity to improve their pitches via the programme and funding support from the Football Foundation.

Ensuring that clubs invest in the right machinery that will be a real asset to them is a key part of the programme and one that Campey – who have run numerous grassroots education days across England over the last ten years – are pleased to help with.

“These grants provide a real opportunity unlike anything they’ve ever had before for grassroots club to acquire machinery and improve their pitches and receive first rate training,” Campey Director, John Campey, explains.

“We’ve worked with grassroots football clubs for a long time, so it’s nice to be recognised and have the affiliation with Staffordshire FA. It puts us in a good position to help the groundsmen and get the machines out there and have people looking at the kit that will do the best for them.”

“I think it’s important to use the right machinery and for them to see it in action and get involved with it that way. With grant support, clubs can access current machinery that’s easier to use and that encourages volunteers and ultimately improves their pitches.”

This partnership will see Campey support grassroots clubs on-site with training and machinery advice as well as contributions to the Staffordshire FA communication channels which will contain ongoing pitch maintenance advice throughout the season.

In the future, Campey aims to develop partnerships with more county football associations to strengthen their support of grassroots clubs in England.

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Beccles Town win FA award

Beccles Town win FA award: Beccles Town Football Club has won the Ransomes Jacobsen sponsored Suffolk FA Groundsman of the Year competition for the second consecutive season.

The competition, which is open to clubs who play in Step 7 and below in Suffolk, has been sponsored by Ransomes Jacobsen for many years and has played an important role in raising the quality of football pitches in the county.

Beccles Town win FA award

Beccles Town win FA award

After entering for the first time last year and being placed first, Beccles’ joint groundsmen Chris Brown and Shaun Soloman were again judged as this year’s winners. They just beat Adrian Waters of Halesworth Town, who entered for the first time, to this year’s title with Tony Adams of Claydon FC finishing third.

Beccles Town joint groundsman Shaun Soloman said: “This just makes it all worthwhile. We don’t do it to get recognition but for the town and the people of the town and especially the kids to be able to play on a decent pitch that we never had the chance to do as it used to be a mud bath.”

The judging panel was led by Ipswich Town Football Club head groundsman, Ben Connell, and he was accompanied by Suffolk FA football development manager Jodie Allard, Institute of Groundsmen pitch advisor east, Phil Jeggo, Tim Parker of Suffolk FA Pitch Improvement Programme sponsors Parkers Pitches and Steve Alabaster, regional sales manager for Ransomes Jacobsen.

This year’s competition was one of the hardest to judge with the quality of pitches rising in Suffolk, and lead judge, Ben Connell, has been pleased to see the initiatives from different parties having an impact.

“I’ve been taking part in the judging for seven years, and the standards are getting better and better. I’ve seen the pitches improve over that time and I’d put that down to the dedication of the groundsmen and the support and advice they get from the Suffolk FA and the IOG.

“This competition has been a great initiative, and along with the funding from the FA and IOG, it has really made a difference to grassroots football in Suffolk because the pitches are getting better. Without the sponsorship of the competition from Ransomes Jacobsen and the support from the FA and IOG, we wouldn’t have got to this point, and I’m looking forward to seeing further progress.”

Steve Alabaster from Ransomes Jacobsen added: “I’m quite taken aback and astounded by how much work the volunteers put in, especially when they have to finance a majority of the work themselves. Some of these guys have hardly got anything at all, and they’re producing fantastic surfaces for kids and adults to play on. I was really surprised that every pitch we saw wasn’t waterlogged because of the heavy rain we’ve had, and it is incredible that they’re doing that with such little resources – each pitch we’ve seen is a credit to the groundsmen who maintain them.

“It’s fantastic to be able to big up these guys because they don’t always get much recognition and it’s a wonderful opportunity for us to partner and support the Suffolk FA. It’s something we’ve been doing for a number of years that we’re very proud to be part of.”

In addition to being crowned as Groundsman of the Year, Beccles Town will receive £200 to be spent on groundscare equipment, with Halesworth Town receiving £100 and Claydon £50. All three clubs will be invited to attend the Suffolk FA Awards Ceremony later in the year to receive their prizes.

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Ransomes Sponsor Suffolk FA For Seventh Season

Ransomes Sponsor Suffolk FA For Seventh Season: The Ipswich-based turf maintenance company are to once again sponsor the Groundsman of the Year competition and also the Suffolk FA Awards Ceremony.

The Groundsman of the Year competition is held annually in the county and is open to clubs at Step 7 and below.

Ransomes Sponsor Suffolk FA For Seventh Season

The Suffolk FA Awards Ceremony is also held annually and as well as the Groundsman of the Year winners, presentations will be made to county winners of The FA and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards plus there will also be Long Service Awards.

The Awards Ceremony is taking place next month at Portman Road before Ipswich Town’s SkyBet League One fixture with Rotherham United.

Ransomes Jacobsen Sales Director, William Carr, is proud the company continues to recognise the invaluable contribution of Grassroots groundsmen and other volunteers.

“Local football wouldn’t function without pitches, and often Suffolk’s groundsmen work far above the level required of them,” he said.

“We’re very lucky to have some fantastic volunteer groundsmen in the county and the Groundsman of the Year competition is a brilliant way of recognising the work they do and awarding them for their dedication.”

Suffolk FA Chief Executive Richard Neal said: “Ransomes Jacobsen’s continued support for the Groundman of the Year Award demonstrates the essential role this largely volunteer workforce plays in providing a quality playing experience.

“I’m delighted such a significant local company is again joining us in celebrating the expertise and dedication of Suffolk grounds staff.”

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Norfolk FA Sign Up Replay

Norfolk FA Sign Up Replay: The Football Development Centre at Flegg High Ormiston Academy in Norfolk, known as the FDC @ Flegg, is one of three facilities run by Norfolk County FA. Elliot Pride, the FDC @ Flegg Development Officer oversees the full size 3G pitch at the site, managing everything from accounts, bookings and even getting hands on with maintaining the pitch. Assisting Elliot in keeping the surface looking and playing at its best are synthetic specialists Replay Maintenance.

“I’ve been here since we opened the facility 18 months ago and in that time, we’ve made great strides in getting the local community involved with football” explains Elliot. Term-time the pitch is used in school hours by the pupils, then at evenings, weekends and during school holidays Norfolk FA take over offering pay & play, walking football, County 5IVES and a range of pitch hire slots. “We’re lucky to be supported by a number of local clubs who use the pitch for training and matches. The pitch see’s roughly 25-30 hours of play per week, with that figure increasing year on year.”

Norfolk FA Sign Up Replay

A County Partner to Norfolk FA, Replay have been involved with the maintenance of the FDC’s since the original facility opened in Norwich eight years ago. “We were pleased with the work and results achieved with Replay there, when the installer-provided maintenance expired on the Flegg pitch we decided to formulate a contract with them to maintain all three centres.” The service agreement see’s Replay conducting six Revive® visits per year to remove contaminates and de-compact and rotate the infill which is then regraded and dressed back into the surface. This results in enhanced porosity and improved playing characteristics.

“Communication with Replay is great. I have a calendar showing the planned visits for the coming year which gives me plenty of notice to liaise with the school to ensure the pitch is free. On visit days, the operators are normally here by the time I arrive at 8am, getting on with the job and are normally away by midday. Following the visit, we then get a report detailing the work conducted, infill levels etc. We also receive weekly emails to submit our hours of play which then generates an ‘actual hours’ figure, from which we can work out how many hours of in-house maintenance we need to conduct.”

Final word from Elliot, “It’s great to have Replay in conducting a deeper clean every couple of months, topping up the brushing and debris collecting we do ourselves. Although the surface is relatively new, it’s important to consider that they only have a limited lifespan so working hard now to keep the pitch in good condition, should help to keep it safe and playable for years to come.”

For more information, visit: www.replaymaintenance.co.uk

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FA Groundsman Awards Open

FA Groundsman Awards Open: Each season The FA runs a nationwide competition to find the Groundsman of the Year.

Now in its 15th year, the Award was set up to recognise the contribution of these unsung heroes of the grass roots game and encourage the development of groundsmanship.

FA Groundsman Awards Open

These annual awards provide a great opportunity to recognise and reward Club Groundsmen at Step 7 (Kent County Premier Division) and below. The majority of football in this country is played at grassroots level, and quality pitches are therefore essential for the development of football at every level.

Grassroots groundsmen, the vast majority of whom are volunteers, play a huge role in ensuring pitches are in their best possible condition, week in, week out. The Awards were set up to recognise the contribution of these ‘unsung heroes’, who work in all weather, all year round, to make sure that thousands of matches can take place on a high standard of playing surface.

Any club wishing to nominate their groundsman need to complete the nomination form and return this to Darryl Haden, Football Development Manager at the Kent FA no later than Friday 2nd March 2018. Nomination forms can be submitted via email at Darryl.haden@kentfa.com or via the post to:

Darryl Haden
Football Development Manager
Kent FA, Invicta House
Cobdown Park, London Road
Ditton nr Aylesford
ME20 6DQ

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FA Take Advice From City Groundsmen

FA Take Advice From City Groundsmen: Sports bodies across the UK are taking advice from Gloucester.

More than 18 months after the city council agreed to commit to improve pitches across Gloucester, council bosses say there has been a major improvement.

FA Take Advice From City Groundsman

And there has been input from some of the nation’s greatest groundsmen at the most high-profile grounds.

The RFU, FA, and England and Wales Cricket Board have held pitch improvement workshops with clubs and groundsmen here in Gloucester, including an event at Kingsholm Stadium, which was led by the head groundsman of Twickenham stadium, Keith Kent.

In January 2016, the council agreed to undertake a new playing pitch strategy to turn their pitches around.

Since then they claim they have seen a 40 per cent improvement.

The report added that with commitment from city council officers, and representation with sporting interest groups such as Sport England, Active Gloucestershire and Aspire Sport and Cultural Trust, now the Football Association is developing a national case study based on Gloucester’s approach.

Gloucester City Council’s cabinet recently approved a report which stated that more people in the county are getting involved in playing sport.

Councillor Lise Noakes (C, Barnwood) said: “It’s exciting the progress that we’re making.”

Adam Gooch, principal planning officer at Gloucester City Council, said in a report: “The delivery of the playing pitch strategy is having a positive effect on sustainability in Gloucester, providing a framework for the protection, enhancement and provision on playing pitches and ancillary facilities in the city over the next 10 years.

“It will also set a good foundation for the ongoing consideration of playing pitches through future updates to the strategies.”

Terry Haines is a member of the Gloucestershire Playing Fields Association.

He said: “My impression is that things have improved but there’s a challenge to maintain them when the [council’s] resources have been reduced to almost nothing.”

He added the future of the pitches depends on “people doing something” to make sure the pitches are suitable for playing on.

But Martin Townsend, who is director of rugby for Old Centralians RFC at Saintbridge Road – which is maintained by White Horse Federation on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council – said his pitch needs improvement.

He said the pitch gets flooded when it rains, and if the team is playing when that happens, the pitch is out of use for four weeks.

“The standard of the pitch is terrible. When the school got moved here the White Horse Federation were supposed to have provided us with a decent playing facility,” he said.

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