Waterhouses Parish Council has become the latest organisation to benefit from the partnership between Staffordshire FA and Campey Turf Care Systems with funding providing a SISIS Quadraplay, New Holland tractor and Trimax Striker.
The Staffordshire based parish council has taken advantage of funding from the Football Foundation as part of the Pitch Improvement Programme and was awarded the remaining 25% of money as a grant from Staffordshire Moorland District Council as part of its Sports Village Programme.
Waterhouses Sports field is equivalent to three full-sized football pitches, and hosts Waterhouses FC amongst other senior and junior teams, and provides a grass area for other parish activities.
According to Waterhouses Parish Council Clerk Chris Hinton, the benefits will be two-fold with the trio of machines in place. First, he believes regular specified maintenance will increase the quality of the pitches, whilst doing the work themselves will save money on contracting costs.
“We are very genuine in our gratitude to the funders and to the Staffordshire FA who glued everything together. We are very keen to use the advice of John Campey at Campey Ltd and Andy Jackson from Stoke City,” Chris begins. “I think we’ve received great advice which we’ve followed and I’m really pleased for everybody that they are going to have much better facilities.
“In years gone by, the senior pitch was one of the best in the area. When it was first installed, it was funded by the local quarry, and they put in very good drainage, which made a massive difference. Over the years since then, the pitches haven’t received any real treatment, apart from basic mowing and rolling and a little annual dressing and seeding etc.
“The programme we have in place now started in the summer of 2019, when I became aware of the pitch improvement scheme and capital grants to help buy the equipment you need to tie it all together.
“When the grant became a reality, we were required to get quotations, and Campey were one of the first people we turned to because we were advised that they are experts in the field. After going through the process, we definitely wanted to make sure the equipment we got was fit for purpose, and with their advice, we fulfilled that brief.
“Before, the maintenance was on a contract with a local sub-contractor who did a good job, but it would be done at times when weather permitted and not necessarily when we asked for it or be exactly what we needed.
“Now we can mow the pitch more frequently, to a more specific level depending on the weather and the needs, and if we want to, we can put the Quadraplay on and slit, scarify or brush. It’s going to make a massive difference to the surfaces, and we’ll save money because we’ll either use our local Lengthsman or volunteers.”
Staffordshire FA Partnerships and Communications Officer Gareth Thomas added: “We’re delighted that Waterhouses Parish Council has embraced the support available to them. Campey’s ongoing support for our programme is ensuring that we can meet our objectives of improving as many natural turf pitches as possible across Staffordshire, and we look forward to supporting more grassroots clubs and organisations going forward.”
With maintenance under the parish’s control, the target is now to restore the ground’s reputation, which used to be renowned for its quality. Improvement works commenced in the 2021/22 preseason with ShockWaving to relieve compaction and a series of recommendations via the Pitch Improvement Programme, which should see a further improvement in quality from the start of next season and beyond.