The Groundsman

November 2015

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GRASSROOTS 30 the Groundsman November 2015 Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions fter 18 months it is clear that the Grounds and Natural Turf Improvement Programme (GaNTIP) is making an impact in the right areas, achieving a great deal of success in raising awareness and standards of pitch maintenance and management. However, there remains a lot more hard work and despite the GaNTIP undertaking hundreds of site visits - with many clubs benefitting from the reports, advice and recommendations made – we have so far merely covered the tip of the iceberg. Taking up the role from my previous occupation has proved to be quite a steep learning curve – tackling the administration side of sport is not something that can be picked up quickly! That said, there have been achievements that have been key to the programme's A The Programme makes great progress Jason Booth, national manager, reports on the impact of the Grounds and Natural Turf Improvement Programme after its first 18 months By: Jason Booth effectiveness, including: • Building a team of regional pitch advisors (RPAs) who have a genuine desire to improve and support pitch maintenance and knowledge at grassroots level; and • Communicating the important messages surrounding good pitch maintenance at national governing body (NGB) level while recognising opportunities where programme partners can benefit from each other. With the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) as its lead partner, the programme has been able to advance very quickly due to the IOG's experiences with earlier, similar projects with the England & Wales Cricket Board. The programme has had access to a support network that included training and education, marketing and communications along with administration. There is also a softer skills side to the programme where the right kind of approach is needed to encourage and influence change. This initially tested the programme's team but great strides have been made and it's been refreshing to witness the buy-in from all the sports involved. More than 400 site visits have so far taken place, stretching the length and breadth of England, and many cricket, football and rugby clubs are now benefitting from the team's reports, advice and recommendations. There have been recurring issues when it comes to understanding pitch maintenance and these have been remedied by the development of workshops and training courses targeted at the volunteers involved.

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