Portsmouth area clubs receive £35,000 financial boost towards maintaining football pitches during lockdown
In all, almost £200,000 from the Pitch Preparation Fund has been handed out across the area covered by the Hampshire FA.
The £35,000 figure - to help clubs that have lost out on normal revenue streams since lockdown started - covers all the clubs in the Portsmouth/Havant/Gosport/Fareham region who successfully applied for a grant.
The Fund enjoyed a hugely positive response in the two-and-a-half weeks the application window was open during May.
Clubs could apply for a maximum of £5,000 to go towards pitch preparation works, with up to £1,500 available to support sites with one pitch, up to £2,500 for 2-3 pitches and the maximum amount of £5,000 available to clubs who have 4+pitches.
This covers both grass and 3G pitches on site.
As a result, £194,000 has been awarded to 90 clubs and organisations that come under the Hampshire FA umbrella – averaging out at around £2,100 per grant. This will allow 232 football pitches to be made match-fit, benefiting 1,160 teams.
Local Wessex League clubs Baffins Milton, AFC Portchester and Fareham Town were among the 62 Hampshire FA area grassroots clubs who received grants - £1,500 in the former’s case.
Of those, 28 clubs are in the National League System, which covers the fifth tier of English football (the National League) to the 10th (Hampshire Premier League Senior Division level).
Nationally, 2,902 grants were awarded totalling around £7m.
In all, 9,588 pitches will be improved with 33,153 teams benefiting
There were 2,196 grassroots clubs awarded grants, of which 706 of them are in the National League System.
A total of 1,138 grants - almost 40 per cent of the total - will support women’s and girls’ football.
Robert Sullivan, Interim Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: ‘This new investment into Hampshire will provide crucial support for football in the area.
‘Our national game is a proven driver of mental and physical health benefits, so it’s important local pitches are match-fit in the event that the Government announces it’s safe for the game to start again.
‘That is why we’ve worked with the Premier League, The FA, the Government and Sport England to set up the Pitch Preparation Fund.
‘These 90 grants will help ensure 232 pitches across Hampshire are in a good condition when the time comes.’
Neil Cassar, Hampshire FA CEO, added: It is great to see so many clubs and organisations in the Hampshire area successfully applying to The Football Foundation Pitch Preparation Fund.
‘This will support pitch maintenance budgets for 3G and grass surfaces at a time when all expenditure is under greater demand.
‘We record our thanks to our colleagues at The Football Foundation for this continued support of our National Game.’
The grants awarded will help with essential maintenance works toward grass pitches, including vertical decompaction, slitting, over seeding, fertilising and weedkilling, as well as routine preparatory works such as grass cutting and the setting out and line marking of pitches.
For artificial surfaces, eligible works include deep cleaning, overmarking and FA pitch testing.
The Football Foundation is a charity funded by the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England.
Founded in 2000, the Football Foundation is now the largest sports charity in UK. Since forming, they have helped towards projects totalling £1.5bn.