Investment Cheque - Gravesham

Funding success for Gravesham

Pitches in Gravesham to receive more than £170,000 investment from the Football Foundation.

Sixteen grass football pitches across three sites in the borough of Gravesham are due to receive an investment boost of £171,776 thanks to a funding application to the Football Foundation from the North Kent Sunday Football League in partnership with Gravesham Borough Council.

The Football Foundation’s grass pitch maintenance fund can be accessed by organisations responsible for the maintenance of grass football pitches. The fund is tapered over six years, with the bulk of the investment in years one and two, which should see the pitches improve significantly, meaning the amount required to keep the pitches at a good standard should be lower in the remaining four years. The Football Foundation’s PitchPower app was used to assess the quality of the pitches, and the subsequent report summarised that fourteen of the sixteen pitches across the three sites were either a basic or poor standard. The report detailed several recommendations on how to improve the pitches. The evidence from previous recipients of grass pitch maintenance funding is that the pitches move up to either a good or advanced standard within twelve to eighteen months of the investment starting.

The project stemmed from an initial conversation between Gravesham Borough Council and Kent FA, along with several clubs and leagues operating in the borough. The three sites, Cascade Leisure Centre, Kings Farm Playing Field and Springhead Recreation Ground, are owned by the local authority who were supported by Kent FA to undertake the initial PitchPower assessments. Local authorities are not eligible applicants for the grass pitch maintenance fund, so the North Kent Sunday Football League stepped forward and agreed to apply for the funding on the council’s behalf. Now that the funding has been awarded, the league will work with the council on spending the funds in line with the recommendations in the PitchPower assessment report, which should ultimately result in the pitches moving up to a good standard.

Culverstone Recreation Ground, another Gravesham Borough Council site, is currently subject to an application to the grass pitch maintenance fund by Gravesham Girls and Ladies Football Club and expected to be granted £43,520 shortly, which would bring the total investment into the twenty pitches to over £215,000.

Cllr Lauren Sullivan, Gravesham Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Community and Leisure, said: “We have a thriving grass roots football family here in Gravesham, a Borough that has produced Laura Coombs, currently representing Gravesend and England with pride at the Women's World Cup, and Fikayo Tomori, who has gone from playing for Riverview United to representing AC Milan and England.

“I want to thank Kent FA, everyone working at grassroots level in the Borough, and the council officers who have worked so hard to bring this vital investment in our pitches, enhancing our leisure offer for residents ensuring the future of community football is secure and showcasing our dedication to continue to produce the stars of the future from right here in Gravesham.”

League Chairman Barry Fessenden commented: “It’s fantastic that this fund is available and that Gravesham Borough Council have been as keen as we have been for the pitches to be improved. This investment will have a significant impact on players across the borough.”

Gravesham Borough Council’s Sport and Recreation Officer, Sam White, added: “We’re so grateful to both the North Kent Sunday League and Gravesham Girls and Ladies for agreeing to apply for the funding, and we’re excited to see the difference this investment makes to the playing experience for everyone.”

Kent’s grass football pitches have now been awarded a total of £1.68m of grass pitch maintenance funding from the Football Foundation, which is going a long way towards improving the 262 recipient pitches.

For more information on grass football pitch improvement, please contact Kent FA’s Facility & Investment Lead, Aidan Ainsley, on