Grass pitch improvement is a key focus for The FA in the National Football Facilities Strategy but also locally in our Essex FA Moving Forward Strategy. Across the country more than 80% of grass pitches are within Education or Local Authority settings. Both of these sectors have faced financial challenges over the last few years meaning less funding being available to maintain pitches to a good quality. Therefore we need to work in collaboration with a host of stakeholders in order make positive improvements to pitch quality.
The FA have a partnership with the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) and we work collectively on The FA Pitch Improvement Programme. Through this partnership we have access to Regional Pitch Advisors (RPA) who are able to visit sites across the county and complete a Pitch Assessment Report. The RPA will spend approximately 60-90 minutes on site using various specialist equipment to assess the quality of pitches and score them against the grassroots pitch framework (see the attachment below) as well as making recommendations to improve the pitches.
Pitch Assessment Reports are one of the prerequisites in order to obtain any potential funding for pitch improvement works, whether that be a capital grant towards new machinery or revenue grant (if pitches are rated as poor or basic) to support costs of additional maintenance.
There is charge of £100 to book a visit which covers the costs of the RPA, including production of the report. If you are requesting this as an affiliated club, this would be raised via your Whole Game System page. For any other organisations e.g. schools, an invoice will be raised as per the details completed on the request form. Visits can take up to 8 weeks to organise dependent on the completion of the necessary paperwork and availability of the Regional Pitch Advisor. A Pitch Assessment report can be requested by contacting Beth Morrell via firstname.lastname@example.org, who will advise on the next steps.