Last year, Biggleswade groundskeepers Tom Belton and Paul O’Brien won the competition and were awarded with line marker and paint from MH Goals Ltd after maintaining the Langford Road site. Robert Hill (Woburn & Wavendon) Stephen and Carl Inns (Slip End Utd) benefitted from an Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) Level 1 course and line marker paint respectively.
Slip End United duo, Stephen and Carl Inns benefited from an IOG Level 1 winter pitch course to learn about treatment of pitches throughout the football season. The pair were given a fantastic chance to further their knowledge by attending a nationally recognised qualification in Essex, an opportunity made possible by British Sugar TOPSOIL. Both Stephen and Carl were initially part of the Pitch Improvement Programme (PIP) and took on board the expert advice from Regional Pitch Advisor, Phil Jeggo.
Kim Campton, Sales Manager at British Sugar TOPSOIL commented ‘British Sugar TOPSOIL are proud to be part of the IOG Pitch Improvement Programme and to sponsor the Bedfordshire FA Groundsman of the Year Award in the form of an IOG Level 1 winter pitch course. Stephen and Carl Inns were awarded the British Sugar TOPSOIL prize of 2 places in recognition of their dedication and time invested into the site and the Pitch Improvement Programme, which has been reflected in the improved quality of the playing surface.’
Since Wes Matthews was crowned National winner in 2018, the experience has created a snowball effect culminating in a fantastic experience at Luton Town FC with Head Groundsman Richard Bird. It gave nominee’s amazing insight into professional football and the chance to visit Kenilworth Road prior to heading down to the training ground at the Brache. This quickly escalated to a visit to St George’s Park at the home of English football to coincide with the celebrations of the GOTY 2019 Awards.
James Petty, Football Development Manager added ‘We are delighted that we have secured such committed and passionate sponsors in MH Goals Ltd and British Sugar Topsoil for a 3rd season running. Both organisations reflect the qualities that we see in our fantastic grounds volunteers and it is satisfying to be able to reward the volunteers by giving them additional support to help them maximise the valuable time they give to the game.
The PIP has been a huge success with over 46 pitches making improvements in Bedfordshire in just under 2 years. To see unique opportunities arise as a result of CPD workshops, GOTY events and professional club visits is extremely rewarding because it can feel like a thankless task for grounds staff across the whole year. The Football Foundation have recently announced some very exciting news for those who have been involved in the PIP scheme as it will help alleviate two main challenges that grounds staff face. This involves accessing grants for machinery and releasing extra revenue funds for cyclical maintenance regimes that enhance pitch quality.’
To gain more knowledge, hints and tips for maintaining football pitches - sign up to the online groundskeeping community network here
For more information on GOTY 2020, PIP scheme or Grass Pitch Maintenance Fund then please contact James Petty directly on firstname.lastname@example.org or 01582 567719.