A recent independent research by the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) has identified concerning facts that will impact on the opportunities to play sport on well-maintained natural turf pitches.
Research findings highlight the fact that the number of young people embarking on a career in groundsmanship is in decline – and with over 40% of the workforce over the age 50, this is a worrying trend.
The report suggests that investment is urgently needed in adequate training and education to ensure groundscare professionals and volunteers are able to maintain safe, quality standard pitches to allow for increased demand for sports participation now and in the future.
As a result of these findings, the IOG has launched the Grounds4Sport campaign that calls on Government, sports bodies and industry to work together to bring about change, and to invest in natural turf pitches and the people who maintain them.
Grounds4Sport (visit www.iog.org for more details) is targeted to give natural turf sports provision the re-boot it needs.
According to the findings of the IOG’s industry-wide survey ‘Groundsmanship – Sports Vital Profession’, the UK sports turf groundscare sector employs more than 26,000 people, is supported by at least 37,000 volunteers and is worth more than a staggering £1 billion a year to the economy. But the research also highlights areas of concern that, if not addressed, are a ticking time bomb for the industry.
“Local authority austerity and budget cuts have had, and continue to have, a damaging effect on grassroots grass pitches,” says the IOG’s chief executive Geoff Webb. “The steady deterioration in the quality and the overplay of many pitches is impacting on the playing programmes of some sports,” he adds.
Click here to read the full story from the IOG.