The Groundsman

November 2015

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GRASSROOTS 31 the Groundsman November 2015 Visit for more information and digital editions Regional pitch advisors Like myself, the RPAs have had had to pick up new roles and use a new skill set and learn new processes. With the task set by the NGBs and myself to achieve the GaNTIP strategies, they have had to provide a support network - which has included professional and volunteer groundsmen, IOG members and IOG corporate members – as well as engage with other industry sectors. The RPAs have successfully created a network of support across all three sports where best practice can be shared and relationships built so that education and knowledge can be disseminated more easily. The role of the RPA is and will continue to be ever-evolving – and as in the case of the reports produced and protocols used, their role will be regularly reviewed to improve the Programme's performance and effectiveness. Funding partners The partnership between the IOG and its funding partners has shown some real benefits, including • A collective voice/shared approach • Promotion of groundsmanship and the groundscare industry • Availability of expertise • Quick responses to issues • Consistent message. The Football Association The FA wanted to immediately implement initiatives – one critical success factor was to create a network of professional groundsmen within each region to help undertake site visits and reports, and to be part of the RPAs' support network. The fact that grassroots clubs now have a contact that can advise, guide and support them is a massive step in the right direction. Issues such as applying the correct seed and fertiliser, and using the correct machinery along with cutting/ maintaining the pitch at the correct height will allow clubs to play more often and reduce the amount of postponed games in the future. The RPA visits that have taken place have been well received and it is good to see that our reports are being used in the appropriate way. Achievements for the FA are: • RPAs created regional networks of professional groundsmen • Networking/raised awareness of the availability of an RPA within County FAs • Workshops presented for both in- season and renovation maintenance procedures • More than 300 pitch visits completed, with reports. England & Wales Cricket Board Key areas of focus for the ECB have been the County Grounds Associations (CGAs) where a full review of the service has taken place. Providing a good service via CGAs will be vital in fulfilling the ECB's playing pitch strategy. Important within this area is the efficiency of the Cricket Pitch Advisors (CPAs) network along with the CPAs' relationships with their respective County Cricket Boards. RPAs have been tasked to support this process and use their networks to enhance the availability of support to grassroots cricket clubs and volunteers. Good and well-functioning CGAs will be important to the success of the ECB's priorities, as will training and education (which is high on the agenda) and a new complementary online approach has also been produced by the IOG to enable volunteers to gain easy and flexible access to training/education. Current focus for ECB: • Supporting all County Grounds Associations (CGAs) • Understand the strategy of Get the Game On initiatives making CGAs aware of the programme by supporting, and offering knowledge and guidance Above and left: After reseeding of the Aberford Albion FC pitch in west Yorkshire and, below, the result - a top class playing surface Raising standards The Grounds and Natural Turf Improvement Programme is a joint collaboration between the IOG, The Football Association, the England & Wales Cricket Board, The Rugby Football League and Sport England. The programme's overall emphasis and direction is to bring about a revolution across the sports to improve knowledge, awareness and understanding of best practice in preparing and maintaining sports surfaces, especially at grassroots level, so that standards and the approach to maintaining facilities are improved. t

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