Providing a suitable playing surface is essential to sustain and increase participation in grassroots football, so the Football Foundation is able to provide funding for works to improve the drainage of grass pitches.
Who can apply?
You don’t have to be a football club to apply to the Football Foundation, however grassroots football must be an integral part of your offer.
You can apply if you’re:
- A not-for-profit football club or voluntary group
- A Local Authority
- A County FA
- A Professional Club Community Organisation
- An educational establishment providing facilities for the community
- A registered charity
- A not-for-profit company
- A community interest company (CIC) or other social enterprise
- A company limited by guarantee
You can’t apply if you’re:
- An individual or sole trader
- A national governing body
- A commercial / for-profit entity
- A club within the Premier League, Football League, National League System (Step 1 to 6), Women’s Football Pyramid (Tier 1 – 4) or the Welsh Premier League
- Educational establishments providing facilities solely for their students
About the grant
What we’ll fund
- Capital works recommended in your PitchPower Assessment Report to improve the condition of your pitch where other options (such as improved maintenance) have been exhausted
What we won’t fund
- ‘Routine maintenance’ such as grass cutting or line marking
- Capital works to improve the condition of your pitch not recommended in your PitchPower Assessment Report
- Retrospectively fund any items that have already been purchased or capital projects that have already commenced work prior to an application being submitted.
Applicants will need to complete a PitchPower inspection for all their pitches that’ll be improved using the machinery/equipment before they can apply. Further details on PitchPower can be found here or please speak to your County FA.
Where the works involve the installation of a piped drainage system, the project should be professionally designed and managed by a suitably qualified sports pitch consultant. Organisations such as the Grounds Management Association (GMA), Sports and Play Construction Association (SAPCA) and The Register of Independent Professional Turfgrass Agronomists (RIPTA) all hold lists of experts in sports pitch construction. Fees for this service can be included within your grant application.
Where a piped drainage installation is discharging into a ditch or other watercourse, permission from the Environment Agency or your local authority may be required. If so, this must be in place before your application is submitted.
We’ll also require written confirmation of the landlord’s consent to undertake the proposed works, unless you own the facility, or the landlord is included as a joint applicant.
We’re not able to fund works deemed as ‘routine maintenance’. For enhanced annual pitch improvement works, separate grants are available.
As a result of the works, it’ll be expected that grass pitches will be maintained to achieve the GMA’s ‘Good’ pitch quality standard and you’ll be required to continue to submit pitch data through PitchPower annually. Details of the Grounds Management Association Pitch Grading Framework can be found here.
The Foundation can provide a grant of up to £25,000, provided this doesn’t exceed 75% of the total project costs. Where a grant of over £25,000 or 75% of total project costs is required, the applicant should contact their County FA and/or Foundation Delivery Manager through our Contact Us page to discuss the project in more detail.
To manage high demand and ensure all clubs/organisations get the funding they need, we ask that applicants make no more than one application per season unless otherwise agreed with the Foundation.
Therefore, it’s really important that you take time over your application and ensure you’ve included everything we’ve asked for. This helps make quicker decisions and prevents you from having to submit multiple applications for the same item.
Please note that we cannot accept multiple sites under one application.
Document & tenure requirements
We’ll ask you to demonstrate that you have the required ownership, by either freehold, or uninterruptable leasehold from the date of grant offer for a varying period, for a length of time dependent on the grant amount:
- Up to £25,000 – 5 years
- £25,001 up to £100,000 – 10 years
To ensure your application is processed you should include the following documents:
- Photographs of the pitches, indicating the problem to be resolved via the proposed works
- PitchPower Assessment Report
- Where a piped drainage installation is being proposed, a feasibility study and specification of works from a qualified agronomist or sports pitch consultant
- Plans / drawings / specification / schedule of works
- Two like-for-like quotations from an experienced contractor, based upon the specification
- Evidence of partnership funding
- Environment Agency / local authority approval (if applicable) / Landlord consent to the works
Once your application and supporting documentation have been submitted, you’ll receive a confirmation email. Your application will be assessed by our Grant Management Team who’ll contact you to discuss your application if they have any queries.
Assessment will typically take around two weeks. You’ll then receive a notification by email that your decision letter (and any associated terms and conditions) is available for download from your Football Foundation account.