Grounds Assistant

Summer Fields is an independent boarding and day school for approximately 330 boys aged 4–13 years situated in Summertown, north Oxford on a beautiful 70-acre site. We are looking for a Grounds Assistant to assist with the preparation and maintenance of sports pitches and the general maintenance of the grounds.

Grounds Assistant

Grounds Assistant

The school’s motto is “a healthy mind in a healthy body” and as such sport and the grounds facilities are important to the life and success of the school. The school is well resourced and concentrates on football, rugby and cricket for a term each but in addition, there are many minor sports available, including the use of the school’s golf course.

The ideal applicant will have a particular interest in and enthusiasm for preparing and maintaining cricket squares to an exceptionally high standard but must be willing and able to work across all grounds areas as part of a small team. We are looking for someone with an appetite for learning and professional development who is keen to progress in the future.

This role is suitable for an experienced Grounds Assistant or for candidates who have recently completed an apprenticeship.

For full details please visit our website Please apply by providing the following:-

  • A fully completed application form or a full CV, including a full employment record and contact details of at least two referees.
  • A cover letter explaining your previous experience relevant to the position.
  • If you have a CV you wish to send, please do so, however, at interview, we will request a completed application form with full details of your employment history.

If you would like further details or assistance with the application form please call the HR Manager on 01865 459238.

Summer Fields is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. Applicants must be willing to undergo child protection screening including checks with past employers and the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Telephone: 01865 459238


Gardener / Grounds Person

We are looking for a Gardener/Grounds Person to manage 4 acres of beautiful estate in St Albans. You will be required to manage all garden areas, mixed borders, lawns, trees and artificial surfaces within the College as well as cleaning hard standing surfaces and keeping the site free from litter.

Gardener / Grounds Person

Gardener / Grounds Person

The successful candidate will have experience managing an estate of a similar size/nature and have a strong work ethic and good all round plant knowledge. A horticultural qualification is essential along with PA1/PA6 and chainsaw qualifications and experience using a wide range of garden machinery. In return, we offer a competitive salary with attractive benefits.

St Columba’s College is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and an enhanced DBS check forms part of the appointment process, including reference checks with past employers.

To apply for this position, visit to view the job description and to download an application form. Please email your covering letter and completed application form to Jackie Metcalfe, HR Manager at

Closing date for applications: Midday on Wednesday, 22nd September 2021 with interviews shortly afterwards.

St Columba’s College is a Catholic Foundation of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart (US Province)

Deputy Grounds Manager

Warwick Independent Schools Foundation

Deputy Grounds Manager

Deputy Grounds Manager

We are seeking to appoint a Deputy Grounds Manager to assist with the leading of our Grounds Department within our large, friendly team of Estates & Operations professionals.

You will have experience of grounds staff supervision and management experience and be able to support all areas of grounds maintenance and development within a large estate.

You will assist with the delivery of a high level of quality and workmanship with improvements continually shown to the grounds and estate. You will have the ability to communicate clearly, making decisions, delegating and ensuring all grounds works and projects are delivered on time and within budget from the direction of the Grounds Manager.

You will have a strong desire to promote the use of new technologies and have a keen awareness of industry trends and implementation strategies. You will ensure that from the direction of the Grounds Manager all daily/weekly/monthly/seasonal checks are undertaken for all ground’s equipment and preventative measurements.

You will assist the Grounds Manager with Grounds Health & Safety and be driver of training and personal development within the team.

We are seeking to appoint an excellent Deputy Grounds Manager who can assist with leading a team in a confident, professional and approachable manner. The successful applicant will have the ability to be flexible and discreet; someone who is organised, works well under pressure, has high attention to detail and good interpersonal skills.

You will have solid experience in all areas of sports turf and grounds, with previous supervisory experience with a desire to progress into management. You will enjoy being part of a busy, hard-working team which makes a significant contribution to the life of the Schools.

Predominantly, this role works across the schools on the Warwick Campus.

Reporting Lines

Reporting to the Grounds Manager (Direct line manager)

Also accountable to; Director of Estates & Operations Key relationships: Academic Sports Staff, Estates & Operations Support Teams


To assist and support the Grounds Manager in the provision of a 52week Grounds and Landscaping service to the schools.

To build and maintain working relationships with the Schools Sports Team, Estates and Operations Support Team, Maintenance Team and Caretaking Teams.

From the direction of the Grounds Manager allocated and undertake all areas of ground maintenance work tasks in a timely and recordable manner.

To Deputise for Grounds Manager in their absence.

Assist the Grounds Manager in ensuring there is a programme of professional development for all members of the Grounds team.

To ensure all Health and Safety requirements for each task are in line with H&S legislation, best practice and the schools H&S policy is adhered to at all times.

From the direction of the Grounds Manager promote the use of new technologies and renewable\environmentally friendly Grounds machinery and energy sources maintaining an awareness of industry developments and standards.

To monitor the results of the grounds maintenance service and suggest and deliver improvements.

To ensure all Health and Safety requirements for each task are in line with H&S legislation, best practice and the schools H&S policy is adhered to at all times.

Additional duties

  • The post holder must comply with the Data Protection Act 1988, the Computer Misuse Act 1990 and all other policies operating at the school.
  • To report any Health & Safety problems to the Health & Safety Manager.

Safeguarding and Protection of Children and Young Persons

In accordance with the Children’s Act 1989, on appointment post holders will be required to commit to their responsibilities with regards to safeguarding. In addition, offers of appointment will be subject to an enhanced criminal record check from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). These checks will highlight cautions, reprimands and final warnings as well as any convictions. The post holder must not have any spent or unspent convictions that would prevent working with children.

All staff are required to adhere to the School Policy on safeguarding and undertake training as required and ensure the safeguarding and well-being ofchildren and young people at the school, in accordance with School policies.

Essential requirements

  • Completed a broad education including GCSE grade C and above in English Language and Maths (or equivalent).
  • NVQ Level 3 Horticulture & Sports Turf qualification (Or equivalent).
  • NPTC Pesticides PA1& 6 Spraying Licenses.
  • Excellent standard of Spoken and written English.
  • Health and safety and fire safety procedures.
  • Excellent understanding of COSHH
  • Minimum of 3 years’ experience working with playing surfaces.
  • Supervisory experience in a grounds or similar desirable role.
  • Demonstrate high levels of time management using own initiative to manage a heavy workload and at times conflicting priorities as well as tracking progress on a wide range of tasks.
  • Experience of grounds and sports turf knowledge.
  • Ability and willingness to work outside in all weathers
  • Basic knowledge of all types of ground\sports turf machinery
  • Ability to drive work vehicles.
  • Good basic IT skills via PC and Mobile use (emails, photos, word etc.)
  • Understands their role in the context of safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults
  • Ability to form and maintain appropriate relationships and personal boundaries with children and young people
  • Understanding of the requirements of Equality and Diversity

Desirable requirements

  • NVQ Level 3 in Amenity and Horticulture
  • NPTC level 1 & 2 in felling and processing trees
  • NPTC Pesticides PA2 Spraying License
  • Registered member with IOG
  • Certificates, qualification or training in relevant areas of Health and Safety, in particular COSHH but also general risk assessment, manual handling and first aid would be advantageous
  • Working at Height Regulations, Legionella Awareness
  • Experience of working within an independent school environment
  • Experience of multi sports pitch marking
  • Experience of plant\tree knowledge


Salary £24,416 per annum (rising to a maximum of £27,266)

40 Hours per week full time 52 weeks

5 over 7 days, primarily Monday-Friday 7:00am-16:00pm

Other benefits:

  • Competitive contributory pension scheme.
  • Staff Fee remission at our schools on our Warwick Campus.
  • Use of the Sports Complex for staff.
  • A strong, supportive staff community.

How to apply

Should you wish to apply for this position, please visit the vacancies page on either the Warwick School, King’s High School or Warwick Preparatory School Websites, where you will find an application form.

Completed applications should be submitted by the deadline date to

Deadline for submissions:
Friday 17th September 2021 at 9am

An interview will include questions about safeguarding children. The appointment will depend on satisfactory DBS clearance.

The Warwick Independent Schools Foundation is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. Any concerns should be reported in accordance with the Foundation’s Child Protection policy.

Equality, Diversion and Inclusion

The Warwick Independent Schools Foundation is committed to promoting equality of opportunity for all pupils and staff, both current and prospective, and in this position, you will actively support an environment and culture that values diversity and inclusion.


Location: Mattioli Woods Welford Road Stadium & Oval Park Training Ground, Leicester.



Contract Type: Full Time Apprenticeship, Fixed Term.

Apprenticeship: Sports Turf Operative (Level 2) – Provider TBC.

Salary: £8,500.00 pa, rising to £10,750.00 pa upon successful completion of probation period.

Closing Date: 10 September 2021 at 15:00.

Interview Date: Week Commencing 13 September 2021.

Leicester Tigers:

Leicester Tigers is the foremost rugby union club in the country with silverware both in domestic and European competitions.

Based at Mattioli Woods Welford Road, the largest designated club rugby stadium in England, and the most iconic home of the sport in this country, Leicester Tigers remains the most successful club in the history of a thriving, competitive and successful league structure.

It is the heritage and dedication to the development of the game that makes the name of Leicester Tigers and Mattioli Woods Welford Road stadium known throughout the rugby-playing world.

The Role:

At Leicester Tigers, we are excited to announce that an opportunity has opened up to join our Grounds Department, as an Apprentice Grounds Person.

The primary focus of the role will be to assist in the maintenance and preparation of playing surfaces and surrounding areas, to the required standard, at the Club’s Oval Park training facility as well as Mattioli Woods Welford Road Stadium.

Reporting directly to the Head Grounds Person, the successful candidate will join an experienced Grounds team within a unique and exciting environment. Additional responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Mowing, marking out and helping to maintain all of the playing surfaces to the standards required by the club;
  • Using hand machines in the maintenance and preparation of all relevant surrounding areas;
  • Helping to ensure that all equipment is properly maintained and stored in a tidy and secure manner;
  • Operating in a safe manner, as well as keeping all sites clean and tidy in line with the various Codes of Conduct and the prevailing Health and Safety legislation.
  • Treating all employees, stakeholders and customers with dignity and respect, ensuring Tigers values and behaviors are always demonstrated;
  • Carrying out any other duties and tasks required, which are within the post-holder’s capabilities;

The Apprenticeship:

Further details on the Sports Turf Operative Level 2 Standard can be found by following the link below:

Who we are looking for:

First and foremost, it’s important to us at Leicester Tigers that we bring the right people into our environment.

The successful candidate must be able to demonstrate an ability to actively and consistently exhibit the Club’s four key values:

  • Club First: To keep the success of the ‘collective’ in mind in all that they do;
  • Tough: To embrace hard work, and to be unwavering in their application and focus;
  • Passionate: To genuinely care about their contributions, and how impactful they are in their role;
  • Driven: To demonstrate a hunger for personal and professional development; challenging themselves, and those around them.

Working within a fast-paced and high intensity environment, the successful candidate will need the ability to think on their feet, effectively prioritise their workload, and attack challenges head on.


  • GCSE English and Mathematics at Grade C/4 or above;
  • Experience of using various hand tools or equipment;
  • Experience of practical “hands on” hobbies or interests;
  • Weekend working and unsociable hours working required;
  • Eligible to work in the UK.


  • A clean UK driving licence;
  • Previous experience within a similar area;
  • Previous experience with horticultural machinery;
  • Ability to complete tasks to a high level of accuracy, have a good eye for detail.

What you can expect in return:

  • Starting at 24 days of annual leave per year + bank holidays.
  • An exciting and challenging working environment in the world of sport.

How to Apply:

If you feel you have the qualities and experience we are looking for, please download and complete our application form. Once complete, please return by email to Covering Letters and CVs need not be submitted.

All applications should be submitted no later than 15:00 on 10 September 2021. Interviews will take place during the week commencing 13 September 2021.

Head of Sports Grounds

We are seeking to recruit a talented, experienced and knowledgeable individual into the role of Head of Grounds at Stratford Sports Club. The Club boasts over 1400 members across seven sports – cricket, squash, boxing, snooker, tennis, hockey and athletics. Our club welcomes a wide range of people from across the area, with the beautiful surroundings and clubhouse being the heartbeat of our community.

Head of Sports Grounds

Head of Sports Grounds

This fantastic opportunity gives the successful candidate the chance to manage and develop our excellent cricket (x2) and tennis (x4 needlepoint and x3 clay) facilities and surrounds.

Job Description

You will lead the management of Stratford Sports Club cricket, tennis, general grounds and recycling team. You will lead a team undertaking both responsive and planned maintenance duties, executing workmanship to a high standard. You will proactively manage your team assisting all others in order to maximise the efficiency of the department as a whole.

The role will be key in delivering a culture of continuous improvement, and through high standards of service, enhancing the member and community experience.

In addition, this role will manage the grounds team to ensure tasks are carried out in accordance with Health & Safety legislation, and will oversee the development and training of this team.

As Head of Grounds, you will report to the Director of Operations on a day-to-day basis. Have regular contact with the Director of Cricket and Tennis and the Head Coaches of Cricket and Tennis, as and when required.

Key Responsibilities

  • Preparation of playing surfaces to ECB & MCCL Premier League Standard
  • Be proficient in assessing, managing annual and general maintenance of all sports playing surfaces.
  • Continually seek improvement and efficiency of service provision
  • Be proficient in assessing, managing and where necessary completing general maintenance of gardens/grounds (e.g. grass cutting, tree and shrub maintenance, hard and soft landscaping works, weeding, pruning seasonal bedding displays & decorations, recycling activities, clearance of litter, snow, ice and leaves and any general gardening duties, maintaining acceptable productivity outputs and quality of workmanship in accordance with industry practices
  • You will have overall responsibility for safe working practices, maximising productivity, ensuring the quality of the workmanship, reporting activities and all personnel management aspects of the Grounds teams
  • You will ensure that appropriate training is identified and implemented for the team, motivating staff to continually develop their skills. You will provide advice and guidance to direct reports and undertake development reviews and manage your team positively and provide leadership in your area of responsibility in order to ensure maximum contribution by your team.

You will contribute towards estates budget management by:

  • Monitoring and reporting on compliance with agreed budgets
  • Contributing towards decision making processes in relation to plants and equipment
  • Maximise efficiency in all material purchases
  • Endeavouring to maximise efficiency in all departmental purchasing
  • Reporting in detail and accounting for all expenses
  • You will develop, deliver and maintain strategies allowing maximum efficiency at minimum cost in relation to:
  • Transport
  • Plants, equipment and tools

Materials expectations

  • You will analyse, monitor, evaluate and strive to improve the performance of all staff and procedures managed by you
  • Undertake duties in accordance with established Health and Safety regulations and University Health and Safety policies including the assessment of risks relating to the works to be undertaken. Lead and monitor all activities within area of responsibility ensuring team compliance with all Health and Safety requirements
  • Ensure your team deliver on all ground’s activities in relation to special events e.g. sports awards and garden parties/outdoor events
  • You will have overall responsibility for contractor management within your area of expertise and effectively manage their service provision in terms of quality, effectiveness, value and health and safety. You will also ensure that your team engage positively with external contractors
  • Lead the development of improvement and maintenance regimes throughout the estate
  • Lead collaborative discussions regarding improvements to service delivery or efficiencies
  • Manage you and your team’s time efficiently and effectively
  • Ensure grounds maintenance teams undertake maintenance requests
  • Engage and interact with management systems as required
  • Maintain excellent housekeeping within all aspects of your areas of responsibility.
  • Participate in all relevant training courses as and when required.
  • Assist with the identification of potential energy saving initiatives
  • Drive Stratford Sports Club transport as required
  • Liaise and work with other professional and trades personnel as required
  • Operate a personal radio/communication equipment as required
  • Ensure you are up to date on the latest Health & Safety legislation and be able to manage all aspects of H&S including risk assessments
  • Be a self-motivated, independent thinker with a strong team ethic
  • It is essential that the successful candidate holds a full driving licence.
  • This role will involve working some evenings and weekends.

Special Requirements:

Due to operational requirements, there may be occasions when the role holder will be required to work overtime.

On occasion you may be required to attend emergency call outs.

Please note that this job description is not exhaustive, and the role holder may be required to undertake other relevant duties commensurate with the grading of the post.  Activities may be subject to amendment over time as the role develops and/or priorities and requirements evolve.

Qualifications ·         Good general education

·         Relevant technical qualifications e.g. craft/city & guilds/NVQ Level 3/HNC

·         Desirable

·         HND/NVQ 4 or degree in relevant technical area.

·         Equipment Certification (e.g. forklifts, tractor etc.)

·         Relevant health and Safety Qualification (e.g. IOSH, NE)

·         Enhanced horticultural qualification above NVQ3

·         Management qualification


Experience & Knowledge





·         Previous experience of working to tight deadlines

·         Several years’ post qualification experience

·         Extensive experience of successfully managing staff in a similar role

·         Extensive knowledge of relevant Health and Safety legislation and demonstrable experience of day-to-day implementation of Health and Safety practices

·         Previous experience of implementing and operating grounds maintenance schedules.

·         Excellent IT knowledge and awareness, particularly in relation to Microsoft packages

·         Previous experience of successful budget management

·         Previous experience of analysing and reporting of team activities

·         Experience of working with and developing skills of apprentices

·         Demonstrable previous experience of continuous improvement processes

·         Environmental and ecological experience related to estates management

·         Excellent knowledge of multi-sports team playing surface requirements and related sports surface maintenance regimes

·         Good general awareness of and previous experience of successful recycling processes and practice.


Competencies and skills ·         Excellent knowledge of horticultural principles and gardening operations

·         Excellent knowledge of vehicles, horticultural machinery/equipment

·         Ability to work on your own initiative

·         Effective planning and prioritising skills, as an individual and for a team of people

·         Excellent team leader

·         Full valid driving licence

·         Excellent problem-solving skills

·         Excellent customer care skills

Personal Attributes & Competencies ·         Flexibility in working hours to meet operational need

·         Ability to work outside in difficult terrain; lift heavy tools; work under pressure in order to deliver outcomes to demanding deadlines

·         Excellent attention to detail


In return we will offer you:

  • a competitive salary for the right candidate
  • 25 days annual leave
  • 6% contributory company pension scheme
  • a supportive and professional working environment
  • an annual salary review
  • 10% discount for food and drinks at the Bar/Restaurant

If you think you have what it takes to succeed in this role. Please submit your cover letter and CV to by Thursday 9 September 2021. 

We reserve the right to bring forward the closing date if we receive a large number of suitable applications.

At Stratford Sports Club people are at the heart of what we do and drive our success. We embrace diversity and actively seek to attract people with unique backgrounds and perspectives. We believe that an inclusive, collaborative workplace is pivotal to our success and supports the potential and growth of all employees.


45 hours per week, working any 5 days from 7 by arrangement with your Manager. Working weekends as required.

Recognition for Carlisle grounds team

Recognition for Carlisle grounds team: Carlisle United’s grounds team – led by David Mitchell – have been recognised for their work in the 2020/21 season.

Read the full article from News and Star here

Recognition for Carlisle grounds team

Recognition for Carlisle grounds team

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Grounds never looking better

Grounds never looking better: Grass roots sports, at least in name, have a dependence on the surface on which they’re played.

That’s why grounds maintenance across the Province has been deemed essential during lockdown – so that our golf courses, cricket squares and sports pitches are fit to play on again when it is deemed safe to do so.

Grounds never looking better

Grounds never looking better

One person with a bigger task than most is James Devoy, head greenkeeper at Donaghadee Golf Club where there is nearly 100 acres to maintain.

The 38-year-old, who lives in Glastry on the Ards Peninsula, makes a daily 28-mile round trip to maintain the golf course.

He said: “It’s essential. If this wasn’t being done the course would become overrun and unplayable. It would turn to pasture very, very quickly. It would be difficult to recover.

“Normally there’s a team of five greenkeepers in total and a part-time guy, but three of them are furloughed at the minute and our part-time guy is off until we’re back to normal … if there is such a thing.

“There’s two of us in to do it. It’s a big undertaking. We’ve just under 100 acres here.

“We’re doing reduced hours at the minute. We’re in every day from seven in the morning and finishing about two.

“Normally the tees and aprons would be cut twice a week, the rough would be cut once a week and the greens would be cut every day. All that is getting done just once and the rough is getting cut every other week.”

Asked if he was ever tempted to play the course given that he’s the only one there, he said: “I’m not actually. We’re being pretty strict at the minute, no golf at all.

“There’s nobody allowed to play the course, there’s people walking it every day, but there’s no golf and there’s no dogs.

“It’s been more than four weeks since anyone has played the course.

“It could be ready to go as soon as the lockdown is lifted. We’re maintaining the course to a high standard.

“The amount of people who have commented on the condition of the course being very good.

“We could open tomorrow if necessary. The only thing would be the greens mightn’t be up to speed. A week would bring them back up to standard.”

He continued: “It certainly makes it easier to maintain with there being no play on it.

“We don’t have a morning routine, we don’t have to set the course up for play. We’re not changing the holes every day, we’re not moving the markers, we don’t have to cut the greens every day.

“The height of the greens are up. Our greens are at five mill, whereas normally at this time of year they’d be down to three.

“That saves the greens, it keeps them healthier because the grass is longer.”

Asked if the dry weather has posed problems, he said: “It has a bit. It’s good in the sense it’s still a bit cold so the growth has slowed down a bit. But yes, the dry weather means we’re watering greens several times a week.

“It just means we have to manage the greens a bit better, keep an eye on them.”

James said the job of a greenkeeper was not normally an isolated pursuit but it has taken on a more eerie feel recently: “When the course is busy with golfers you’re seeing people all the time.

“You have guys who go out every morning at eight o’clock religiously. We know they’re going to be on the course and we adjust our work to keep ahead of them.

“At the minute, it’s just the two of us. It definitely is strange, you’re not having to plan your day around golf. You can do what you want when it suits you.

“It allows us to cut the rough a bit later. As any keen gardener knows it’s better to cut your grass when it’s dry and not first thing in the morning when there’s dew on it.”

Up until very recently Dean Simpson was one of the only people allowed into Wallace Park.

The Lisburn Cricket Club groundsman was permitted into the park to carry out work on the cricket pitch while others were locked out, a situation that has since changed with parks being allowed to reopen across Northern Ireland.

Dean said: “It’s a very, very eerie place when you’re on your own. Normally it’s very, very busy, there’s a lot of footfall around the park.”

Of the work being carried out he said: “We’re really just keeping a lid on things. We’re cutting the outfield and keeping the square at bay. If it gets away from you, you’ll never play whenever the doors open.

“Therein lies a problem because we have very little income. Senior members still pay their subs but we’ve 150 youth members and it’s difficult to charge the wee boys subs when you’ve nothing to offer them.

“We’ve lost income there, there’s no bar revenue, it’s hard to go and ask sponsors for money given that they’ve their own difficulties.

“There’s reduced income so you’re just trying to do the basics to keep on top of things until, maybe, hopefully, this thing will lift in July and maybe allow a few friendlies.

“The danger you have too is if you lose the full season you might lose those youth members.

“You could also lose older ones coming to the end of their careers, who think it is a good time to retire.

“All in all it’s not going to be good for the sport if we have to go a season without playing.”

He said conditions are perfect for the start of the season: “Despite the wettest February on record we’re now having the best build-up to a cricket season in terms of weather that I can remember.

“The grounds would be perfect for the start of the season. Normally you’re running about trying to get covers on.

“From a personal point of view, the way things are going it’s hard to see much cricket.

“I think whenever this lockdown is lifted it’s not just going to be an open house where everybody is going to go back to doing what they were doing before.”

Normally at this time of year Pollock Park in Lurgan would have been transformed from a rugby ground to a cricket one.

However, this year it’s been a matter of playing it by ear for groundsman Kyle Geddis.

He explained that he was simply keeping things ticking over rather than carrying out any major work at the ground: “There’s been no rugby played since the start of March, there’s not going to be any cricket played for a good while, so the powers-that-be have decided there’s no point spending six or seven grand if the pitches are going to be alright for the next season anyway. It could be September before they’re played on again. We don’t know.”

Kyle, one of three groundsmen, said: “The work we’re doing is fairly straightforward. We fertilised the pitches last week and the grass would be cut once a week just to keep it down.

“It is a lot easier to maintain when there’s no one playing on it. You don’t have to mark the pitches every week, you don’t have to repair divots or ruts.”

He added: “The one consolation if there’s no cricket season would be that we don’t have to take the lights and the posts down.

“Though if it needed to be turned around it would only take a day to do it. The square is in good nick. It was reseeded at the end of last season.”

The club is one of a number of sporting organisations in the Lurgan area, who as part of Lurgan Aid Group, are putting together care packages every week to be delivered to those who need them in their communities.

Davy Wilson is one of the volunteers helping to keep Larne Rugby Club in pristine condition.

He said: “We’ve about 18 acres here. There’s four or five of us who do it all voluntarily.

“They come out different days and if they’re ever out together they’re more than two metres apart. They’re able to work away isolated.

“We’re totally self-sufficient looking after the grounds. We don’t get any financial help from the council or other bodies.

“We always have them pristine. There’s three pitches and two training areas plus all the surrounding areas plus the clubhouse. There’s a lovely setting here by the lough.”

He added: “I remember my first season here there was a silage harvester going round and the grass was about three foot tall when you were doing pre-season training. Times have moved on.

“I wouldn’t say it’s helped or hindered having no play on the pitches. There wasn’t long to go in the season. We’ve always worked at them rain, hail or shine so whether or not there’s play on it doesn’t make a difference to what we do.”

Hubert Watson has been president and chairman of Dollingstown FC, but that doesn’t mean he’s shy when it comes to tasks like watering the goalmouth.

He’s been busy at Planter’s Park during lockdown maintaining the pitch for the Premier Intermediate League club.

He said: “Once I knew that it was going into lockdown in mid-March, I contacted Clive Richardson who does all our ground works during the close season.

“We’d already scheduled him for the end of May to do the work, which gives us June and July to allow the grass to grow.

“I gambled and I went ahead and did it in March.

“If football comes back, which I think it probably will at the end of June, one season will roll into another, you might have a three-week gap or something. It wouldn’t be long enough to do what needs to be done.

“So I got Clive in the next week. I got it vertidrained, I got 50 tonne of sand on it and I got it completely reseeded.

“They did all that in a couple of days then I put eight bags of fertiliser on it to help it green up, although it would need a bit of rain.

“We were lucky we got that work done in March.

“Whether clubs would still be allowed to do that I don’t know.”

Explaining what is being done on a weekly basis to look after the ground, Hubert said: “All I do is go down every other day and water the goalmouth because that’s as far as the hose will reach. There’s taps at each end of the pitch.

“The goalmouth is the hardest part to get the grass to grow.

“I’m going out on my own, so no one is getting hurt.”

Dollingtown were in third place in the Intermediate League when the season was suspended: “It’s the highest position we’ve ever been in our 40-year history.

“We were in a great place mentally, physically. We’re in the semi-final of the Intermediate cup, one step away from the National Stadium.

“I never would have dreamt 21 years ago when I came to Dollingstown we could see a team running out at the National Stadium.”

He said: “The players are desperate to get back, it’s hard for them.

“They can’t meet together and do their training together. They’re all out doing their own exercise but it’s not the same intensity.

“I’ve been at this 45 years. I eat, drink and sleep it, but as the man says ‘there’s bigger issues out there’.”

He added: “I don’t think the Premier Intermediate teams are too badly affected with expenses, there’s very few pros in this league. The crowds aren’t bringing in that much of a revenue.

“Our biggest income would come from advertising around the ground. We’d normally invoice our sponsors in March or April, I didn’t do it because that’s the last thing businesses need to see now.”

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ECB – Coronavirus and Grounds Maintenance

ECB – Coronavirus and Grounds Maintenance: For the avoidance of doubt, due to the developing nature of the outbreak, all grounds teams must ensure that they are monitoring relevant Government and Public Health England (PHE) sites which may change and therefore have an impact on the contents of this document which is correct as of the morning of 25 March 2020.

Should you decide that essential members of your grounds staff should continue to look after your facilities during this period of social isolation and are able to do so whilst keeping to the Government’s guidance, please be aware of several things that you should consider doing to minimise the impact of the virus on your teams and your business.

ECB - Coronavirus and Grounds Maintenance

ECB – Coronavirus and Grounds Maintenance

Things to think about with regards to your grounds:

  1. 1Public gatherings and use of facilities are suspended.
  2. Await ECB announcements regarding any regular cricket participation and return to business as usual activities.
  3. Avoid travel unless absolutely necessary.
  4. Most of what you do naturally means that you are physically distanced from one another anyway, however, you will need to be particularly mindful of those points where you are not.
  5. If you are a manager of others then do consider how to maintain effective communication.
  6. Do your own risk assessment. (For businesses with five or more employees, you are required to formally document risk assessments). When you have decided on the measures you are to take then record it, communicate it and stick to it. It is very important to consider your own working habits and setting and to assess where the risk of transmission is.
  7. Ensure that all surfaces and equipment are cleaned thoroughly as per government advice. Surface transmission is recognised now as the major source of spread and which can occur after prolonged periods.
  8. Do ensure that the right type of products are available for hand care.
  9. Some people may have drastically increased their hand washing habits and may be at risk from dermatitis. Barrier creams and skin moisturisers should be available as well as hand cleansers anyway but check and make sure people know how to use them properly. Hands are the main cause of the spread of the virus.
  10. Do consider splitting your people into distinct groups of essential workers who never come into contact with each other, ideally not more than two people at a time. This would include staggered shifts/days worked, break times or even separate rest areas. This way, if one member of the team catches the virus and those around them need to self-isolate, the other team pairs will be able to operate.
  11. Do maintain a minimum distance of two metres from each other, including at break times. If the weather is suitable then take the opportunity to take breaks outside. Do ensure that there is enough shade available to sit out of the sun if they wish to and that they can do so whilst maintaining their distance.
  12. Do not continue with tasks that require larger team efforts, such as pulling large flat sheet covers. Either use smaller covers or stop using them at all if it cannot be done safely with divided resources.
  13. Avoid using communal areas including clubhouses, toilets and kitchens unless absolutely necessary. If these are necessary, enforce heightened general hygiene measures in rest areas and communal areas. Establish regular (after each use) cleaning for all work surfaces, kettles, microwaves and sink areas etc. using disinfectant sprays.
  14. Cleaning cloths should only be used once before being properly washed in a hot cycle washing machine. Alternatively, use disposable wipes or blue-roll type products instead.
  15. Do not communally use mugs, plates, bowls etc and do make sure that each person has their own items with their name on or wash items in a dishwasher at a high temperature.
  16. Where essential to use changing facilities, you should bring your own towels and showering/changing items.
  17. Do establish a culture of cleaning machines thoroughly immediately after use, i.e. wash the machine down and disinfect the handles, grass boxes etc. Products such as kennel disinfectants are sold in bulk and are a cheap and effective way of doing this (and many of them smell nice!)
  18. Do make sure that you have suitable sprayers with which to apply the products and wipe down with blue roll or similar.
  19. Continue with normal best practice operations such as:
    a) Mowing would ideally take place regularly. A good rule of thumb to allow mowing operations to be kept to a minimum would be not removing more that 1/3rd of the leaf in any one operation.
    b) Mowing heights can be raised by around 1/3rd of normal summer heights without ill effects but turf would ideally be maintained at no more than 25mm/1inch or else turf density would be reduced.
    c) Growth regulators may be used to reduce the speed of grass growth, and hence reduce the frequency of cutting, but only where a suitably qualified person is available to apply them.
    d) Watering the turf would ideally continue, as needed, to prevent wilting or surface cracking.
    e) Fertilisation will still be necessary, if possible, in order to maintain the sort of relatively dense and resilient turf needed for cricket. Inputs of nitrogen could be reduced by somewhere in the region of one third to half of normal rates in order to control excess top growth and limit the likelihood of disease where monitoring of the surfaces is less frequent.
    f) Verticutting of squares and aeration of outfields is important, but only if you are able to do so whilst keeping within the Government’s guidance and adhering to the spirit of what we are being asked to do as a society.
    g) Removing the tops from domed covers and storing any flat sheets will protect them whilst not in use.
  20. Consider what will happen should we all be asked to stay at home.
  21. Individuals must not be at work if:
    a) they exhibit any potential symptoms; and/or
    b) they have been in contact with anybody exhibiting potential symptoms of coronavirus within the past 14 days.​
NHS COVID-19 Advice

An assumption throughout this document is that any ground staff member required at any work does not meet the current government guidance for self- isolation (as of 23 March 2020), per the PHE link included above.

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New Sports and Grounds Exhibition

New Sports and Grounds Exhibition: The Sports and Grounds Exhibition (SAGE) is the all new summer grounds maintenance exhibition opening 21st – 23rd July 2020.

SAGE has been introduced for the sports and grounds maintenance industry to showcase their market leading products as well as release new innovations in an outdoor environment, which will provide more opportunities to both the visitor and exhibitor. The exhibition falls well in the sports and grounds maintenance calendar, placing it nicely between BTME and SALTEX.

New Sports and Grounds Exhibition

New Sports and Grounds Exhibition

The target of SAGE is to bring together grounds personnel from a broad range of sectors and provide an engaging and well-resourced environment in which they have the opportunity to test out and see in action the latest products and ideas on the market. SAGE has huge potential to grow and develop year on year.

SAGE is a three-day event and has been formed out of the heightening demand by visitors and exhibitors to get “hands-on”. The Three Counties Showground provides the ideal situation for both the exhibitor and visitor alike. It is beautifully set at the foot of the famous Malvern Hills and within easy reach of Malvern and Worcester which both have ample amounts of accommodation. The Three Counties Showground already plays host to the RHS Spring & Autumn shows as well as the famous Three Counties Show.

The sectors who will be exhibiting so far include turf maintenance, machinery, line marking, fertilizers, seed weed control and play grounds, we expect to gain many more over the coming weeks. Keep up to date with all the exhibitor releases by following us on Twitter. For your chance to win a 2 night stay at the renowned Abbey Hotel in Great Malvern for the exhibition dates like our facebook page @exposage2020 and follow us on twitter @EXPOSAGE*.

SAGE is currently working with Lantra to develop onsite training during the exhibition, there will also be the opportunity to attend seminars on a range of key topics; from the sustainability to machine maintenance.

Hospitality will be provided by many of our exhibitors onsite. There are no entrance fees and onsite parking is free of charge. There are plans currently underway to run a shuttle bus between the train station, the centre of Malvern and The Three Counties Showground. The Three Counties is in a central location with good transport links easily providing a national and international reach. We look forward to seeing you in July.

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First school grounds seminar a success

First school grounds seminar a success: A recent school grounds seminar held at Charterhouse in Surrey has been hailed a huge success by all who attended.

The event attracted over 50 delegates from all levels as several topical issues were explored and discussed. Supported by prominent suppliers and manufacturers in the industry – ICL, Limagrain UK, Syngenta UK and Charterhouse Turf Machinery – attendees had the opportunity to find out more about key subjects such as fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides, grass seed and aeration.

First school grounds seminar a success

At a time where the industry is witnessing increasing pressure on pesticide usage and when registrations are getting tighter, the presentation by Glenn Kirby, Syngenta’s Technical Manager for the UK Turf & Landscape, was well received. From this seminar, attendees became more knowledgeable on how to get the best out of their products and also gained a greater understanding of fungicide timings, correct calibration and sprayer set-up, and how to choose the correct nozzles.

Sam Horner, Amenity Seed Specialist from Limagrain UK, offered a fantastic insight into the thought process behind the development of a grass seed mixture. From initial breeding through to going to a customer, attendees received first-hand information on characteristics of the plant, growing, harvesting, germination testing, creating a mix, percentages and the trials which go into producing a final product.

Henry Bechelet, ICL Technical Sales Manager UK & Ireland, focussed on new regulations for fertilizers which are set to commence in 2022. There has been a lot of uncertainty over the new forthcoming legislation and Henry was on hand to answer some all-too common questions and clarify the situation.

Stepping into the stunning school grounds, delegates then had the opportunity to see a number of outdoor product demonstrations from Charterhouse Turf Machinery. Attendees found out how to relieve compaction and improve drainage with the OxyShot air-injection unit, the Verti-Quake® and the Verti-Drain®. In particular, representatives from Charterhouse Turf Machinery focussed on the three styles of aeration – deep-tine aeration, linear aeration and high-pressure aeration.

The idea for this unique new event was born following discussions between a group of grounds managers from schools – Charterhouse, Whitgift, St Paul’s, Christ’s Hospital, Cranleigh, Reed’s, The Royal Grammar School (RGS), New Hall and Harrow.

Host for the day Lee Marshallsay from Charterhouse, provided an insight into how the seminar came to fruition: “After going to various events and exhibitions over the years we felt that many of the seminars were mainly aimed at managers or those in a senior position.

Ultimately, we are a group of grounds managers that meet up to talk about the industry because we want to help. We have taken something by the scruff of the neck and tried to drive something which is specifically for our sector.”

Echoing Lee was Daniel Ratling from Whitgift School, who said: “We wanted a training day that was going to be more targeted at every member of staff and give them information that would enthuse them and help them in their every-day work. A big part of that is integrating and mixing with people from other schools and this is not something that you are often able to do.”

Russel King, from The Royal Grammar School, felt that the event was a huge morale boost for his team: “We wanted our team to know that some of the issues they are facing are not just isolated to their specific grounds and that it could be perhaps a common problem for everyone. Today has been great because they have received advice about how other schools are approaching the issues and it has really boosted their morale.”

“Our staff have not been to anything like this before,” claimed James Pope from St Paul’s. “We all agreed that this was at a perfect time being half-term and my staff have been able to speak to professionals that they might not usually get the chance to speak to. I think we have all taken some great ideas away from this event.”

“It’s been a great first event and I’m confident that we can progress it in the future,” added host Lee. “I think this is something that could happen once a year and in order to grow we will debrief and identify what delegates would like to see in the future.”

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