Last spring and early summer, we built a new synthetic pitch for Sevenoaks Town FC. They are very pleased with it - so pleased, in fact, that they renamed their facilities the Bourne Stadium. (Well, there may have been a small sponsorship involved too.) Their First team remains top of the league and they have not lost a single home game on the new pitch - how's that for extra added bonus?
Sevenoaks Town have over 50 different teams so the pitch is in use every day. It is holding up beautifully - although they have to be very vigilant to stop visiting players from bringing inappropriate footwear on to it. Although a fully synthetic pitch like this is not cheap, Sevenoaks' Chairman Paul Lansdale was able to raise the necessary funding in clever ways, partly with grants from the town council and partly with well-constructed loans from members.
So the idea came up - let's bring together some of our team, Paul L and a specialist consultant on raising funds for sports organisations, Karen Woolland from WCTD, and do an open day in the midst of winter, when the advantages of a well-drained synthetic pitch over poor water-logged natural grass are at their most visible. The date was set for 6 February, and we have invited football clubs, councils and schools from the region to come and hear how Sevenoaks got their pitch together, and how we can help others to do the same.
Apart from Bourne Sport staff, we will bring along Steve Wilcockson from Surfacing Standards, specialists in synthetic sports surfaces, and Rob de Heer from Sports Pitch Engineering. The evening will start at 7pm and we will have presentations, catering, general mingling and watch the Sevenoaks teams training on their pitch.
If you are thinking of getting a fully synthetic or hybrid pitch for your club, or school, but wonder how to find the cash to pay for it, this is the event for you. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, or ring 01797 252298 and I'll send you an invitation.
There will be a report from the event next week.