The Rugby Football League is today urging Community Clubs to take advantage of the revolutionary Grass Pitch Maintenance Fund which is being delivered in partnership with the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation.
Over the next three years, £5 million of Sport England National Lottery funding will be made available via the Foundation to support the improvement of grass pitches in Rugby League’s Community Clubs.
This investment forms part of the Foundation’s multi-sport commitment, which will see the charity invest 40% of its investment into multi-sport projects that support both football and an additional sport, such as rugby, cricket, netball, and basketball, by 2025.
Clubs will be provided with a bespoke 10-year maintenance plan by the Grounds Management Association to improve their pitches which consists of a six-year tapered grant, providing up to £3,600 for every ‘match equivalent’ pitch in the first two years and tapered down over the remaining period. This funding can then be used to employ contractors and purchase materials to improve their facilities.
To be eligible, clubs need to complete a PitchPower Assessment Report and have the appropriate permissions to complete the recommended work alongside the following actions:
- Update club development plan making specific reference to facilities and grass pitches
- Update club health check
- Identify two volunteers to complete GMA Level 1 course
- State how the club is working to Tackle Inequalities particularly across focus areas of IMD and Women & Girls
- Access the GMA Rugby League toolkit (recommendation)
Having the appropriate permission means one of the following:
1) Freehold of Site
2) 10 Year Lease/Licence
3) Landowners permission
The Rugby Football League’s Facilities Manager, Tom Little, says:
“We are really excited to see the positive impact that the Grass Pitch Maintenance Fund will make in Community Rugby League. Our data suggests pitches are severely overplayed, so this investment and training should not only improve pitch quality, but also support our volunteer workforce to understand and protect their pitches for the long term.
“Community Rugby League Clubs are at the heart of the game, and this funding will help ensure that there are good quality pitches available for the foreseeable future and I would urge everyone who is eligible clubs to use our how-to videos and templates to help with their application.”
Club Health Check’s and Development Plans should be provided to John McMullen or Tom Little before submitting application to the Grass Pitch maintenance Fund. No applications will be processed without these being provided. All of the required templates and extra information can be found on the RFL website.