From Staffs FA and manufacturers' partnership

Waterhouses FC is the latest grassroots football club to benefit from the new partnership between DennisSISISCampey Turfcare and the Staffordshire Football Association.

This partnership will be a key component in the Football Association’s goal of improving a total of 20,000 grass pitches across England over the next decade. 

Gareth Thomas, commercial and partnership lead for Staffordshire FA, revealed how partnerships with such companies are integral to achieving this goal. 

“We are measured by participation, so we are tasked by the government and the Football Association to get more people playing football,” he said. “The reality is, if clubs have not got good, quality surfaces to play on then people won’t want to play.

“Already we have seen a huge improvement from the clubs who have made the most of the funding by purchasing the right equipment. Working with the likes of SISIS helps to make our programme as impactful as it possibly can be.”

Waterhouses FC, based in North Staffordshire, plays a large part in the local community and is home to many teams ranging from Under 8’s upwards. The pitch improvement project has been driven by Waterhouses Parish Council and David Stone - chairman, and Chris Hinton - clerk to the Parish Council, explained why it was so important. 

“Since 2008 the maintenance of the pitches has been down to the Parish Council, but with five villages within the parish, and with so much to do, it has been difficult to juggle everything,” said David. “As a result, the pitches suffered and now we want to improve them. The facilities here are certainly worthy of that.”

Chris added: “From experience I’ve seen just how hard it is to find good pitches to play on when the bad weather hits. Quite often, teams will end up on a 3G pitch which costs a fortune. We quickly tuned into the fact that the FA is trying to improve this widespread problem.”

Through the programme, significant funding is available to support grassroots clubs, and part of the criteria involves a qualified pitch advisor visiting the site. Andy Jackson (Stoke FC grounds manager) visited Waterhouses FC and wrote a full report in which he recommended three pieces of equipment. One of those products was the SISIS Quadraplay.  

Chris explained, “The Quadraplay helps with the presentation of the pitch, it disperses the worm casts, it rolls the pitch and de-thatches it. Depending on weather, we plan on using it at least once a week - it will be invaluable to us.”

David admitted that the pitch improvement project has brought a feel-good factor to the community. “The children, the families - all the local people that come here, will benefit from this,” he said. “The quality of the pitches will go up and the costs of doing it will go down, because we no longer have to bring in third parties.  

“It’s really quite incredible to be honest.”

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