Birmingham, England: Campey Turf Care Systems has entered a new partnership with Birmingham County Football Association (BCFA) that will see the company service grass-roots football teams in the Black Country, Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire.
The move towards improving grass-roots pitches in England has become a central goal for the Football Association. The overall target is to have 5,000 pitches assessed as ‘Good’ or ‘Better’ by 2024.
The reform of the grading process, along with new funding opportunities prompted BCFA’s Facility and Investment Lead Oliver Hitchcox to seek a machinery partner to ensure clubs were well informed and receiving the necessary back-up service.
“The vast majority of the reports that we get identify a need for new or additional maintenance kit and equipment,” said Hitchcox.
“We’ve signposted a lot of clubs for funding towards that equipment so often because clubs don’t have a huge amount of expertise in that area, and they tend to come to me or our Grounds Management Association (GMA) Regional Pitch Advisor Kevin Duffill, asking for the best places to get quotes.
“We’d already had a few clubs who had engaged with Campey and were really enthusiastic about the support they had from them.
“I wanted to get a partner on board so that we had someone we could direct people towards who we knew were going to provide value for money in terms of the kit and offer a really good level of customer service and support for our clubs. So, I contacted John (Campey), and we had a conversation around what we could do.
“They had recently done something similar with Staffordshire FA, so they knew the landscape in terms of what we were looking to do and it’s a really good fit because of the customer service that they offer clubs.
“Campey has been going out to sites to demo products and taking clubs through that process of what the machinery and equipment can do, how to use it properly and then all the aftercare is really beneficial. So, from our perspective, we know that we can direct clubs to somewhere where they will be well looked after.
“I was speaking to a club last week who we have just supported with some funding, and they said exactly that. The local rep had been on-site to demo all the kit and take them through that process. When they deliver the equipment, they give a good installation in terms of operation and management and then again, we have the aftercare. They are always on hand with any queries or issues that come up.
“Having someone who works locally who can actually go and visit people is definitely a benefit rather than just having people on the phone or email. That personal contact is really important.”
Every year the FA conducts a grass-roots football survey, and a constant theme is the condition of pitches. Good quality surfaces are vital when it comes to attracting new players to the game and retaining them is equally important, and a challenge the Birmingham FA is actively addressing.
As well as funding from the Football Foundation, clubs can also access BCFA’s own grant that helps bridge the gap of the remaining 25% cost of machinery from the 75% Football Foundation grant.
Campey Turf Care Systems is a Full Business Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.