'Real team effort' - praise for staff tending 440 Hartlepool football pitches

Council workers in Hartlepool are putting in a real team effort to get football players back on the pitch.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 11:42 am

With outdoor sport having resumed following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, Hartlepool Borough Council is pulling out all the stops to ensure games are able to go-ahead.

Grounds maintenance and leisure, recreation and participation staff are working to accommodate some 440 senior and junior football matches up until Sunday, June 6.

That means ensuring the availability of pitches at venues across the town, including Grayfields Recreation Ground, Rift House Rec, King George V Playing Fields, and Brierton Sports Centre.

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Grounds maintenance and leisure, recreation and participation staff at Hartlepool's Rift House Rec.
Grounds maintenance and leisure, recreation and participation staff at Hartlepool's Rift House Rec.

Their efforts will enable the 2020-21 season to be successfully completed following its suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic shutting down the season when team sports were suspended.

Ian Gardiner, the council’s head of leisure, recreation and participation, said the pitch maintenance staff have faced a real battle to make sure the matches can be played.

He said: “Such a busy schedule does, inevitably, have an impact on the condition of the pitches and they require regular maintenance to ensure matches can continue to take place, especially given the recent rainfall.

"The grounds maintenance staff do an excellent job and I’d like to thank them, on behalf of local teams and leagues for their efforts."

Football pitches at Brierton Sports Centre are among around 440 tended by Hartlepool Borough Council staff.

Mr Gardiner also praised staff from the council’s leisure, recreation and participation team who have the job of co-ordinating pitch bookings and helping to manage facilities on match days – both during the week and at weekends.

He added: added: “This is a real team effort and reflects our commitment to supporting people to be active, with all of the benefits that this has for their physical and mental wellbeing.”

Teams are being asked to support the efforts of council staff by ensuring that no litter is left behind on pitches after matches.

Players and spectators are also being asked to respect local residents by parking considerately when attending the pitches.

Following completion of the current season, there will be a 10-week close season from June 7 for maintenance of pitches in readiness for the 2021-22 season.

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