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FA splashing £50k on our grounds

Sport | Published:

THREE more Guernsey clubs are expecting to gain significant FA funding for pitch improvements.

Heavy going at The Track where drainage has been an ongoing issue like most local grounds: The old pitch was notably soft when the Guernsey Priaulx League met Dorset last autumn in the Inter-League Cup. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 28253766)

The news follows Vale Rec’s recent confirmation that they were able to spend £22k on a new tractor and associated equipment to improve the Corbet Field.

Bels, North and St Martin’s are also in line for the funding having been urged to apply for grants from the Football Foundation’s new ‘Pitch Preparation Fund’.

Andy Robert, president at Bels, agreed that the funding was helpful with an Island Games football tournament on the horizon and said thanks was due to the Guernsey FA for alerting his club to what was available.

‘Gary Roberts did a good job in bringing it to the club’s attention and to the access for a swift turnaround for club’s ground improvement plans.

‘We had had a pitch report already done and that supported the application,’ added Robert.

Bels are set to get a five-figure sum to assist with pitch improvements on what will be the main grounds for next summer’s Island Games tournament.

‘It is timely [the grant] but it wasn’t Island Games-driven, it was coincidental,’ was the view of the Bels supremo. ‘But it has all come around quite nicely.

‘It is certainly welcome and being able to pay for certain services or equipment you wouldn’t normally have done is an advantage.’

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At the Track that means they will be to crack on with improving the drainage, a seeding programme and ventilation.

‘The sum is over a three-year period and one which we can draw down upon,’ said Robert.

Vale Rec’s application to the FA Football Foundation saw the Grand Fort Road club benefit to the value just short of £22,000, which will be used to purchase a new Kubota 2231 tractor, a state-of-the-art cutter deck and slitter.

‘It is going to help us massively,’ said committee member Jody Bisson when it was announced a few weeks back.

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Speaking on behalf of St Martin’s, Ben Hunter said he understood his club had received a similar amount as Bels and North.

‘It comes in instalments and at the moment we are getting our pitch re-seeded in the four problem areas.’

Those problem areas he talks of prevented any football being played at Blanche Pierre Lane’s main pitch after the autumn.

Hunter said his club ere also investigating Football Foundation funding to help with drainage, but as it was an expensive exercise he was unsure what could be done in the short term.

‘We’ve got a grant to help us over the next four years,’ said North president Colin Kimber.

‘Obviously we are updating our pitch all the time and it [the grant] is for work on all our pitches.’

Nationally, the FA Football Foundation is providing almost £10 million of support to grassroots clubs struggling to maintain their pitches.

Robert Sullivan of the Football Foundation said: ‘This fund reflects the determination of the Premier League, The FA and government to work together to make funding available to help get pitches match-ready for when restrictions are lifted.

‘The Football Foundation will work with eligible clubs and community organisations across the country to ensure they get what they need. We are here to help, so please apply via footballfoundation.org.uk before the deadline of 25 May.'

The application window to be found on footballfoundation.org.uk will be open until 9pm on Monday 25 May.

Rob Batiste

By Rob Batiste
Sports Editor

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