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Football pitches across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole chosen as part of a pilot initiative that focuses on improvements

A programme of improvements to football pitches across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole is moving a step closer.

The Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation has announced that BCP Council is among a number of local authorities to be selected as part of its new grass pitch pilot programme. This exciting pilot initiative aims to support the improvement of grass pitches across the conurbation over the next ten years.

The Football Foundation is the UK’s largest sports charity and exists to improve the experience of playing football for everyone, by championing fair access to quality facilities.

The council were selected following a successful Expression of Interest process in partnership with Dorset County Football Association, which involved ground soil sample testing on 57 grass pitches across 15 sites. After submitting the reports data, the council will hear back towards the end of July on how much funding will be allocated towards its pitch maintenance and renovation programme as well as equipment across all the BCP areas pitches.

The Football Foundation will work with the council and other local partners to devise a delivery plan and explore funding opportunities to improve the well-used pitches.

Work is currently underway to prioritise the list of sites for improvement using information from the Local Football Facility Plan (LFFP). The Plans have been created for every area in England. These are the culmination of two years of work with local authorities, County FAs and other stakeholders to identify projects that together represent a blueprint for building what each community needs and deserves.

Councillor Mohan Iyengar, Portfolio Holder for Tourism and Active Health commented:

“This has been a great project to be part of with a clear vision for future pitch improvements, and which feeds into our Playing Pitch Strategy. Encouraging everyone to lead active lives is within our Big Plan and we have thousands of residents playing on our pitches come rain or shine. So it’s important that we continue to maintain them and improve them for everyone’s use.”

Kath Purnell, Facilities and Investment Lead for the Dorset County Football Association commented:

“We are really pleased to be working with BCP Council on the LA Grass Pitch Programme. This fantastic initiative will improve the quality of grass pitches across the local authority area ensuring that grassroots football clubs and players have quality grass pitches on which to train and play matches, ensuring the sustainability and future growth of football and a greater user experience”.

Having launched its ‘Power Up Your Grass Pitch’ campaign in November last year, the Football Foundation is on a mission to improve over 7,000 grass pitches by 2024 and 20,000 by 2030, to ensure the 12 million grassroots football players across the country have great places to play.

To help make this ambition a reality, the Football Foundation has developed ‘PitchPower’ - a free ground-breaking web app that gives every club and organisation the ability to carry out their own grass pitch inspection. Once submitted, organisations will receive an assessment report with bespoke recommendations and advice from the experts at the Grounds Management Association (GMA) on how to improve their pitches.

This report also serves as a gateway to access Football Foundation funding to support pitch improvements.

Posted on Thursday 14 April 2022