Local authority austerity and budget cuts have had a damaging effect on ‘grassroots’ grass pitches, a groundskeeping organisation says.
The Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) has warned there is ‘a ticking time bomb’ for the groundskeeping industry.
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 £1bn a year to the economy.
However, the IOG’s research found that the number of young people embarking on a career in groundsmanship was in decline, while over 40% of the workforce was over the age of 50.
Launching the Grounds4Sport campaign, the IOG called for more investment at the local level in training groundscare professionals and volunteers to maintain safe, quality pitches.
‘Local authority austerity and budget cuts have had, and continue to have, a damaging effect on grassroots grass pitches,’ the IOG’s chief executive Geoff Webb said.
‘The steady deterioration in the quality and the overplay of many pitches is impacting on the playing programmes of some sports.’