Pitch Perfect (Northumberland) has been developed over the last 18 months in conjunction with a pilot group of partner clubs and leagues. The programme will see the grassroots club and league sites working in partnership with local authorities to support improvements to pitches and training facilities throughout the region.
It culminated in July with the delivery of an Institute of Groundsmanship winter pitches course by the IOG's Chris Gray. The course provided training to 20 volunteers who will now be working at a number of hub sites across Northumberland to assist with local pitch maintenance.
As part of the initiative, a range of new grounds maintenance equipment was bought from two local companies, to assist those working at a local level with limited resources.
Greenlay supplied seven John Deere X750 lawn tractors, a 3045R compact tractor and an XUV 855D Gator utility vehicle, while Rickerby Ltd of Hexham supplied trailers and an Imants Shockwave decompactor from Campey Turf Care Systems.
Greenlay's operations manager Mark Thrumble carried out installation training on the John Deere machines for all the volunteers that will be using them.
"This project is a first across the country and sees Northumberland FA and its partners working in conjunction to provide innovative solutions to existing issues," says Northumberland FA county development manager Mark Woodhall.
"Each hub will look slightly different and will meet the needs of the local area. Where possible, they will provide a bespoke supplementary service for a number of clubs in the short term, with the long term view of assisting further satellite sites over the coming months."