Pitch perfect community club project launched

The RFL is co-funding an initiative which will see natural grass pitches at community clubs throughout the country benefit from expert turf care advice from the Institute of Groundsmanship.

The £1.3 million Grounds and Natural Turf Improvement Programme, which is funded by a number of sports governing bodies, Sport England and the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG), is designed to raise the standards of playing surfaces across the community game through the help of an army of volunteers

The project will be headed by national manager Jason Booth, the former head groundsman at Headingley Carnegie Stadium.

Starting this month, eight regional pitch advisors based across the country will liaise with their relevant national governing bodies, reporting directly to Booth.

They will provide support services, training and education to community clubs while also managing the development of pitch performance standards through reporting and advising on grounds improvements.

As a result, community clubs will be able to access expert turf care advice, training and technical knowledge as well as guidance on coping with flood damage.

RFL National Facilities Manager Carol Doran said: “The RFL is committed to increasing regular participation in Rugby League and therefore believes it is crucial that the sport has access to good quality pitches.

“The programme will have a significant impact on the standard of Rugby League natural turf pitches by helping to provide essential services and support to volunteer grounds staff.

“We look forward to working with the IOG and national governing bodies partners on the implementation of this exciting new scheme.”

IOG chief executive Geoff Webb said: “The IOG’s regional advisor network has over the years helped to vastly improve the standards of many sports surfaces, especially at grassroots and volunteer level where funding is often very limited.

“Now, with additional support from more national governing bodies of sports, we will be able to continue this important work at a much higher number of venues from the north to the south of the country.”

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