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GMA secures grassroots investment

GMA secures grassroots investment: Today, the Grounds Management Association (GMA) announces a £3.9M investment from the Premier LeagueThe FA, and Government’s Football Foundation with Sport England to deliver the association’s third phase of the pitch improvement programme for grassroots sports.

Formerly known as the Grounds and Natural Turf Improvement Programme (GaNTIP), the newly named Pitch Advisory Service (PAS)is part of the GMA’s ongoing commitment to help improve natural turf provision across football, cricket, rugby union and rugby league at grassroots level in joint collaboration with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), Rugby Football Union (RFU) and Rugby Football League (RFL).

GMA secures grassroots investment

GMA secures grassroots investment

After a year of disruption to sport, the GMA’s Pitch Advisory Service will continue to focus on raising the standards of pitches to increase playability, maximise player experience and decrease the number of cancellations due to declining pitch quality.

The programme provides an enhanced network of GMA turf care specialists available to people and organisations maintaining natural turf pitches within local communities, with the funding boost growing the number of GMA advisers available to them by almost 30 per cent.

The Pitch Advisory Service also offers access to dedicated, sport-specific key account managers at the GMA – a team of grounds management specialists bringing years of grassroots and professional knowledge to the programme. Key account managers work collaboratively with each National Governing Body of Sport (NGB), as well as Sport England, to deliver national objectives to sustain high levels of sport and physical activity, now and in future years. During 2019-20, the regional pitch advisors visited more than 4,500 pitches, with the programme improving grounds maintenance practices at 91% of the sites visited.

With lockdown placing sport and physical activity on hold, maintaining playing surfaces remained a vital task for volunteers across the country. New digital applications like the Football Foundation’s PitchPower helped clubs facilitate pitch inspections during restrictive periods, which were each reviewed digitally by the GMA’s regional pitch advisors removing the need for a face-to-face site visits. Despite the COVID-19 restrictions, PitchPower allowed the PAS to carry out three times as many pitch assessments as before it was launched and it will remain an important tool now restrictions ease.

During this time, the GMA also supported the ECB in getting recreational cricket played by providing COVID-specific grounds management advice and working with the ECB Facilities Team to engage with local authorities to maximise the number of facilities available in a challenging 2020 season. New online webinars and training courses helped volunteers expand their learning and network with regional pitch advisers.

In addition, the Football Foundation Groundskeeping Community app, managed with support from the GMA, saw a 43% rise in users during lockdown and now has 2,670 engaged members, with numbers continuing to grow.

Innovative and collaborative practices, like online services and applications, will be at the centre of the Pitch Advisory Service, with the GMA providing high-quality recommendations and advice to best support clubs of all shapes and sizes, as well as local authorities, both online and offline.

Through its partnerships, the GMA also aims to increase the number of volunteers, improve skills and knowledge through its training, and provide leading guidance and information for those involved in, or connected to, grounds maintenance at clubs. The programme will also look at ways to encourage women, as well individuals from diverse backgrounds and walks of life to get involved, with the aim to build a strong future workforce.

Next year, the GMA aims to launch an industry-leading Pitch Grading Framework that will provide a benchmark for pitch standards, alongside a simple, affordable education pathway for all grounds staff and volunteers to gain the right level of understanding for each type of pitch.

Jason Booth, COO at the GMA, said:

“We’re grateful for the investment in our Pitch Advisory Service that supports local communities and players. Since 2014, our partnerships with the NGBs and Sport England have grown stronger with each phase of delivery. Now, six years later, we’re seeing huge progress through enhanced education and training of volunteer and professional grounds managers. We want to see millions more enjoying the benefits of playing surfaces – whether it’s to develop sporting talent or just for fun.”

“Through our research, we will continue to highlight the challenges within the turf care sector, but we’re now focussed on developing the future workforce with the aim to recruit, retain and reward volunteers for their commitment. The GMA is here to support volunteers with credible information, advice and guidance – connecting it with an extensive network of grounds people from all walks of life.”

“We hope that this programme signals a change in fortune, particularly at a time when restrictions ease and a sense of normality begins.”

Robert Sullivan, CEO, Football Foundation, said:

“Over the past six years, the Pitch Advisory Service has done a wonderful job supporting community football clubs to maintain and improve their grass pitches. During the COVID-19 pandemic the network came into its own; quickly adapting to work with new digital tools, developed by the Foundation, to ensure pitch quality didn’t suffer as a result of the restrictions.

This new funding means that the PAS can continue to do its essential work providing the football community with the information, training and skills needed to raise the standards of football pitches for the millions of community footballers in England.”

Charles Johnston, Executive Director of Property, Sport England said:

“We are delighted to be working with partners to deliver the Pitch Advisory Service. This collaboration will provide an exciting and transformational service to improve grass pitch quality and develop a more diverse and experienced workforce of groundspeople.

“Pitch quality is important for both player experience and development, so it’s exciting to consider the positive change the multi-sport service can make in tackling inequalities through targeted pitch improvements. As set out in Sport England’s new 10-year strategy, ‘Uniting the Movement’, tackling inequalities within sport and physical activity is at the heart of what we intend to do over the next decade, and services such as this are powerful vehicles to achieve this.”

Bruce Cruse, Director of Facilities and Infrastructure at the ECB commented:

“The ECB is delighted to join the GMA, Sport England and our colleagues from across pitch sports in the challenge to provide outstanding support to grounds management and grass roots sport. Providing great experiences for participants is the foundation of life-long love of sport and in cricket so much relies on access to quality pitches and supporting of the people who make that happen.

“As the ECB is committed through it’s ‘Inspiring Generations’ strategy to connect communities and improve lives this new partnership forms a vital step in the delivery of the plan at the grassroots level and will do so much for the long-term sustainability of our sport.”

For more information on the Pitch Advisory Service, please visit: https://thegma.org.uk/pitch-advisory-service

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EVO 165D a great investment

EVO 165D a great investment: Almost a year on from taking delivery, Peter Greathead of PWG Tree Surgery is still being surprised by the seemingly ‘unstoppable’ performance of his GreenMech EVO 165D woodchipper.

From the very first demonstration, Peter was impressed by the design and build quality of the EVO 165D – which has proven to be a solid investment for the family-run business.

EVO 165D a great investment

EVO 165D a great investment

Peter along with his two brothers mainly undertake domestic tree works, along with assisting in larger-scale, commercial sub-contracting projects. “Over the years we hired various makes and models of chipper, before we decided to purchase our first machine – a second hand GreenMech Arborist 15-23. When the time came to replace our 15-23, we’d been so impressed with the support we had received from the GreenMech dealer network, particularly from Ashley Stevens at GA Groundcare Ltd, that we went straight to them to compare the options available.”

“We had a demonstration of the petrol EVO 165 initially, and as soon as it turned up, my brothers and I were dumbfounded by the build quality of it! Everything from the steel bonnet to the paintwork was much heavier-duty than we’d seen on competitor machines, which gave us the peace of mind we needed to invest.” The option for a foldable discharge chute meant that Peter ended up going for the EVO 165 diesel model – combining a 165mm chipping capacity with a 25hp Kubota diesel engine.

Having been used on projects both large and small over the last 12 months, one of the features that has really impressed Peter is the adjustable roller speed. “If we’re dealing with bigger timber, we slow the rollers down and the machine works with us to process the timber without stressing the engine. Conversely, if we’re dealing with bramble or ivy, we can up the roller speed and it’ll almost ‘suck’ the material in. This powerful pull through also means we’re not having to sned material prior to processing, dramatically reducing our chainsaw usage and improving our efficiency.”

Peter concludes, “The thought that GreenMech have put into the EVO series is clear to see, pulling together some of the features and benefits of their other machines all into one design. Our EVO 165D is constantly surprising us with the types and volumes of material it can process. As yet, we’ve yet to find anything that it can’t handle!”

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Rain Bird protects investment

Rain Bird protects investment: It’s a fact that not every new tree or shrub will survive and thrive.The reasons are varied, but unless roots successfully establish themselves in the surrounding ground, failure is always possible.

This is true for both new and transplanted trees, especially in times of hot weather when the earth is dry. Protecting the investment should be a high priority for any landscaping project as the cost of replacement will be high, whether it involves multiple ornamental trees or simply hedges for boundary screening. Maintaining a proper irrigation regime using a professional root watering system will more than pay for itself.

Rain Bird protects investment

Rain Bird has developed a simple, yet highly effective solution with its Root Watering System (RWS). Thousands of openings in its perforated tube construction ensure that vital water, oxygen and nutrients bypass compacted ground and are delivered directly to root systems. Subsurface, deep root horizontal watering and aeration using RWS full circle bubbler technology ensures tree health, promotes faster growth and encourages deeper and broader roots for a stable foundation.

One or multiple RWS units can be connected by pipe to a valve which in turn is connected to an irrigation controller. This will manage watering programs that can be set for specific frequencies and lengths of time to ensure water is not only delivered correctly, but also carefully managed for conservation. Once the watering cycle is complete an optional check valve can be used to protect the system against backflow. With Rain Bird’s LNK Wifi module, irrigation schedules can be changed remotely using a smartphone or tablet in accordance with weather conditions or as the seasons progress.

Ready to install as a plug and play solution, RWS comes in three pre-assembled sizes and any combination may be required for different landscapes. These can be specified in accordance with the size and variety of trees and can be added to existing irrigation systems or installed as part of a new one. Smaller RWS units are compatible with Rain Bird’s Dripline system. Installation is fast and easy with the largest RWS unit’s patented basket weave canister construction allowing ground installation to a depth of around one metre.

From a garden designer’s standpoint, the RWS is unobtrusive at surface level, does not compromise a landscape’s appearance and there is no trip hazard. As roots are encouraged to grow downwards, risk of damage to expensively laid patios and driveways is also minimised.

Contact Peter Longman, Rain Bird Europe, Northern Europe Landscape Area Manager, Tel: +44 7575 626600 email: plongman@rainbird.eu  www.rainbird.eu

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Osca justifies pitch investment

Osca justifies pitch investment: Once Warwick School had decided to invest in a new synthetic pitch, Grounds Manager Duncan Toon felt that the SISIS Osca 3 tractor-mounted oscillating brush was the only machine that could maintain the new surface effectively and truly justify the major investment decision.   

Sport plays a significant role for the pupils that attend Warwick School and its teams excel in a number of sports including cricket, rugby and hockey. However, while the school’s sports teams are making the headlines on the pitch, it is Duncan and his newly assembled team of six grounds staff that make it all possible.

Osca justifies pitch investment

Duncan, who has been in the role for nine months, was tasked by Warwick Independent Schools Foundation, which includes Warwick School, Warwick Junior School, King’s High School and Warwick Preparatory School, to significantly improve the sports surfaces used by all its schools.  He is now responsible for the eight hectares of grassland and all of the gardens and sports facilities.

“With the investment which has been made into the synthetic surface, I felt that we needed to have the best equipment to maintain it and for me the Osca was essential.

“I was actually looking online and I came across some videos of the SISIS Osca in action and after much research I felt that it was the one machine which massively stood out and the one which I believed would make the biggest difference to us.”

The SISIS Osca is a tractor-mounted powered oscillating brush with a 1.9 meter working width and is equally effective when used on synthetic turf with sand or rubber infill. The two oscillating brushes stand up the carpet fibres and redistributes the infill, minimising compaction on the surface and improving its performance – giving consistent playing characteristics while preventing pile damage caused by reduced infill levels.

A contributory factor to the reduction of compaction is that the Osca’s working width will use fewer passes than other more conventional drag brushes to complete a pitch. Its aggressive brushing action agitates the upper infill level of the surface from side to side as well as brushing forward, helping reduce surface compaction and encourage the fibres to stand up straight which reduces the risk of contamination, drainage problems and leaves a consistent playing surface across the whole pitch.

For a school that thrives on sport, the synthetic surfaces at Warwick incur a lot of usage which means that regular maintenance is of the utmost importance – as Duncan explains.

“Over the course of a year, the pitch averages four hours of play every day and we use the Osca on a fortnightly basis. It is a great machine and when you run your fingers through the pitch after you have used the Osca, it is clear to see that the de-compaction it offers is simply on a different level. Since we have been using it the pitch has significantly improved.

“The Osca’s oscillating brushes are the best feature and are very unique. Not only do they get rid of any compaction problems but they also provide a fantastic finish. Thousands of pupils play on this pitch so maintaining it effectively is important for player safety but you can’t forget about the presentation either. The SISIS Osca ticks both of these boxes.”

For further information or a no obligation demonstration, please contact SISIS on 01332 824 777 or visit www.sisis.com

For more news, reviews and insightful views, you can follow SISIS on Twitter or Instagram @SISISMachinery and like the company’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/SISISMachinery. You can also view the latest SISIS videos by visiting www.youtube.com/SISISMachinery

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Huxley tees proving a return on investment

Huxley tees proving a return on investment: World leading golf surface experts, Huxley Golf, has completed a major installation of 27 all-weather tees at Poult Wood, one of the finest pay and play golf courses in the South of England. With this installation the facility will stay open for the enjoyment of resident and visiting golfers throughout the coming winter months.

Set in picturesque woodland near Tonbridge in Kent, Poult Wood offers a choice of two interesting and challenging courses for regular and casual golfers. It is run by the Tonbridge & Malling Leisure Trust, a not-for-profit organisation responsible for the delivery of sport and leisure facilities for Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council. As such, the course must be affordable, high quality and accessible to all members of the community.

Huxley tees proving a return on investment

Darren Lanes, Head of Leisure at Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, explains: “Our vision, in partnership with Tonbridge & Malling Leisure Trust, is simple: ‘more people, more active, more often’ and we’re delivering this through the provision of a wide range of facilities which enable participation in activities that promote physical and mental wellbeing. Consistency is incredibly important but this is naturally harder to achieve when it comes to enabling outdoor leisure pursuits given the vagaries of the British weather.

“This is why we have invested in renewing our all-weather tees at Poult Wood Golf Course. These winter tees have proven to deliver excellent value for money through operational resilience and an uninterrupted year-round revenue stream which we can reinvest in, extending our efforts for the whole community’s benefit.”

Huxley Golf used its Premier Tee Turf 2 across both the 9- and 18- hole courses. Each tee measures 12ft x 12ft (3.66m x 3.66m).

Poult Wood Head Greenkeeper, Stuart Crowley, said: “It’s safe to say that the Huxley Golf winter tees have been a real return on investment.

“We first installed all-weather tees with Huxley Golf twenty years ago and we’ve never looked back. With virtually no maintenance requirement, the use of these winter tees not only delights our customers, but it also frees my team up to ensure that the remainder of the course remains playable in increasingly challenging seasonal conditions. We renewed the tees after ten years in 2010 and we’ve just done so again, such is their considerable contribution to our well-regarded course.”

For more information about winter golf surfaces, call 01730 829608 or visit www.huxleygolf.com.

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New Pitch Investment Pays Off

New Pitch Investment Pays Off: For years the quality of the Memorial Stadium pitch was criticised by managers both home and away as it cut up badly.

Former Gas manager Darrell Clarke used to lambaste it at regular intervals.

New Pitch Investment Pays Off

Which makes today’s announcement that Bristol Rovers have been named Grounds Team of the Season in League One all the more significant.

At this point last season the club had already ripped up the turf at the Memorial Stadium to correct a problem with the incorrect sand laid under the grass and lay a new fibre pitch.

What the fibre does is reinforce the turf meaning it does not come up in clumps.

Clarke, who departed as manager at the Gas in December, revealed over the summer that groundsman Daryle Sullivan had even slept at the stadium during the summer to ensure the pitch developed perfectly.

Anyone who has visited to Mem this season will no doubt have noticed the vast improvement to the playing surface.

The awards recognise the importance of the quality of pitches for professional football and acknowledge the clubs and their ground staff who consistently produce the best playing surfaces in the EFL.

Bristol Rovers’ ground staff take top honours for the excellent surface at the Memorial Stadium in League One with Doncaster Rovers, Sunderland and Wycombe Wanderers highly commended.

In the Championship, Swansea City won the award for producing a perfect pitch at the Liberty Stadium this season. Aston Villa and Middlesbrough are both highly commended.

The award for Grounds Team of the Season in League Two this year goes to Swindon Town, while the ground staff of Carlisle United and MK Dons are highly commended.

The EFL’s Grounds Team of the Season Awards are determined initially using marks from referees and away managers for each Sky Bet EFL game and are then followed by detailed pitch inspections and a review of management operations.

These visits were carried out by Dr Stephen Baker, Head of Sports Surface Technology at the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI).

Click here to read the original article

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SIS Pitches’ Factory Investment

SIS Pitches’ Factory Investment: A leading UK-based pitch manufacturing company has invested £1.8 million in a new turf production facility, safeguarding more than 50 jobs, and creating an additional 15 positions by 2022.

Despite the uncertainty facing UK businesses through Brexit, SIS Pitches has re-affirmed its commitment to British manufacturing with this major investment.

SIS Pitches Make Factory Investment

The purchase of a new backing plant will allow SIS Pitches to extend its current site in Maryport, Cumbria, increase production volumes and grow its workforce.

It’s welcome news for Cumbria, where unemployment rose by 1.5% between October and December last year, as recorded by the Office for National Statistics.

SIS Pitches is a world-leading full-service provider in specialist sports pitches and landscaping grass. Last year, SIS Pitches designed, constructed and installed SISGrass hybrid pitches at six 2018 World Cup venues, including the Luzhniki Stadium pitch for the opening match and the Final.

The new factory, which covers an area of more than 2,100 square metres, is one of the most technologically-advanced production facilities in Europe. The company will use the new factory to deliver the highest quality, long-lasting synthetic surfaces.

George Mullan, SIS Pitches Owner and CEO, said: “This investment in new state-of-the-art facilities and technology will support our ambitious growth plans while also creating and safeguarding jobs in the local community.

“The Glasson Industrial Estate has been at the heart of manufacturing for more than 50 years and, despite business uncertainty in the face of Brexit, we are very proud to be able to continue that tradition through this significant investment. We are also grateful to Cumbria LEP for their investment in the project.

“Our new factory will ensure we continue to provide the highest quality products and increased output, maintaining our position as the market leader in the manufacturing of synthetic turf.”

The expansion plans at the Glasson Industrial Estate has benefited from a £274,000 Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership investment, which supports wide-ranging projects including transport, skills, business support, broadband, innovation and flood defences through its Local Growth Fund.

SIS Pitches Make Factory Investment

The site has been home to UK turf manufacturing since 1966, when Palmyra Ltd, the UK’s largest polypropylene artificial grass manufacturer, relocated to the north west of England as part of its expansion plans.

The new SIS Pitches facility utilises the latest technology in thermal insulation, LED lighting, laser-fire detection and advanced cladding systems, while the new backing plant will be the most advanced turf backing system in the UK.

The state-of-the-art coating line, the most advanced in Europe, provides SIS Pitches with the option to run either new standard latex coating or their new ‘SISBond’ Polyurethane technology, both of which are applied to the back of the synthetic turf during the manufacturing process to secure the artificial grass fibres to the backing cloth. The line also comprises new turf straighteners and guidance units to ensure products are fit for purpose, plus an advanced roll-up unit to eliminate creasing and enable turf to be rolled tighter than before.

SISBond Polyurethane has been specially engineered to provide a much stronger and durable backing than other systems. It is primarily used for elite performance, providing enhanced fibre retention and greater resistance to moisture.

In addition, SIS Pitches has also developed and launched a new UK-made premium yarn that is designed to maximise durability and fibre resilience, thus further enhancing their reputation as market-leaders in turf innovation and technology.

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Westland To Showcase Investment At Glee

Westland To Showcase Investment At Glee: Westland will be attending the upcoming Glee show, using the event to strengthen its position and launch its strongest home and garden range with new products and developments across a diverse portfolio.

At the forefront of this will be the unveiling of new products in the New Horizon range with our revolutionary BIO3 additive which is 100% sustainable. BIO3 is the culmination of a £35million investment and unprecedented breakthrough in peat replacement technology.

Westland To Showcase Investment At Glee

Simon McArdle from Westland, commented: “BIO3 is the compost for the next generation. It combines wood, premium quality coir and bio fibre to deliver one of the highest quality composts on the market, that just so happens to be peat-free. We’ve been developing this for some time now so we can’t wait to unveil it at Glee”.

Westland will also be celebrating 80 years since the launch of the iconic John Innes. Our newly repositioned range are all based on the original blend, but now are enriched with nutrients and additives reflecting the latest grower technology to ensure improved performance.

Glee also provides Westland opportunity to showcase its position as the most forward thinking and leading lawn brand. Aftercut is launching a new lawn programme that helps overcome the retail challenges of the stable and mature lawncare market. It will be simplifying lawncare regimes and extending the lawn season with new products that can be used in early spring and late autumn. As part of this Westland is launching two new products. The first is AfterCut Ultra Green+, which give a greener and stronger lawn, which prevents moss from growing. The second is Gro Sure Fast Start –  Smart Lawn Seed which utilises aqua gel technology combined with specially bred varieties which to allow the seed to germinate at lower temperatures than previously achieved, allowing gardeners to boost their lawn earlier, and later, in the season than previously possible.

Peckish, which has recently become the fastest growing brand within the bird care market, will be unveiling new products as well as a new look at the show. Packaging has been refined, with 80% of all Peckish food products now being available with a resealable top, and new Squirrel Proof Suet Pellets will be launched as well as additions to the Secret Garden range of decorative planters.

Other highlights include the new Resolva Xtra Clean Path and Patio where consumer insight has guided our brand offering within the category; and the continued development of the Deadfast rodenticide range as a result of a new partnership with the world’s leader in rodent control, Victor; and a celebration of the 32% industry growth of indoor. This growth has led to a 38% increase in sales for Westland’s indoor plant care range which will be boosted by the Glee launch of the new Hydroleca clay granules which absorb water and release as required.

A new look Unwins range will also be on display which sees the launch of four seed new collections and a new Gro-Sure Seed Start, a pre-treatment that can be sprinkled into compost to provide better germination and establishment.

The market-leading Westland straights range is relaunched this year with modern, premium packaging, designed to make it easier to understand what each product does. The aim is to attract new consumers and drive value in this mature market.

Keith Nicholson, Marketing Director at Westland, said: “We’ve got a lot planned for this year’s Glee. It’s always a vital platform for us to launch new products and unveil developments within our existing ranges but we are particularly excited about this year’s show. Westland has experienced strong growth across many brands recently and we anticipate the New Horizon BIO3 products, as well as classics like John Innes, to help this continue.”

Westland will be at the show on stand 7G50-K51.

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