Pitch upgrade for Telford and Wrekin Hockey Club

Posted by Chris Nightingale on 20 May 2021

Telford and Wrekin Hockey Club are preparing for the oncoming season by having their pitch facilities upgraded to the latest synthetic hockey turf. Over the last 2 years club members have been working tirelessly towards getting a new synthetic turf surface at their home at St George’s Recreation Ground.

Before moving to St George’s Telford and Wrekin Hockey Club played on grass at Telford Town Park, sharing facilities with Telford Hornets Rugby Club, as well as playing matches at Thomas Telford School. After moving homes to St Georges in 2003 the club played on the Red Gra surface which had been in place since 1965. In 2004 the Red Gra pitch was converted into the all-weather synthetic turf, which has supported the community ever since including local football and bowls teams using this facility over the years. This was purchased and managed by St Georges Sport & Social Club at cost of around £430,000 and was paid for with several grants, loans and club fundraisers.

The club started planning for a replacement pitch in September 2015, and the hockey club took responsibility for the running and maintenance of the pitch over from St Georges Social Club, as well as the planning and securing of funds for the replacement surface. This included renting the pitch out to other hockey clubs, schools, and local football teams to bring in some extra revenue.

During this period, the hockey club has grown and made significant investment into the junior section, which has seen record numbers in the 2020/21 season, as well as both ladies and men’s first teams being promoted to Midlands Division 1. The ladies have also for the first time had a 3rd XI.  The men are also looking to introduce a 5th team for the 2021/22 season. All of these factors, as well as achieving the England Hockey Club Mark Accreditation have been essential in securing grant funding.

In July 2019 the Pitch_In fundraising committee was formed by men’s club captain Alan Parham, after the club decided that this was the time to replace the worn-out pitch surface. After receiving several quotes, the target was to raise £220,000 in order to get a new surface laid by Summer 2021.

Fundraising got off to a slow start with the ‘Buy a Pitch Square Fund’ as well as other fundraising events such as the Halloween Party, Race Night and Filipino Night.

The ball started rolling in May 2020 when the National Hockey Federation granted the club £50,000. Good news followed in November 2020 when we received our first large pitch in donation from the Wynn Foundation for £2000. With the new pitch now looking like a reality, the Buy a Pitch Square Fund took off with club members, friends and family, and other hockey clubs across the country ‘Pitching In’ to help raise a further £7,100.

Full Pitch

The New Year brought further delight as the club, alongside Richard Overton from St Georges Parish Council met with representatives from Telford and Wrekin Council who subsequently agreed to support our project, with a grant and loan totalling £104,000.

From here the club were now able to contact suppliers and move towards the completion of the new pitch which was headed up by Men’s 1st XI coach Steve Floyd.

The club were very lucky to have Steve on board given his many contacts throughout the hockey community, as well as support from England Hockey Sports Facilities Manager, Jamie Pover. During these discussions Steve spoke to 8 different hockey clubs across the UK, but received a lot of support from Preston Hockey Club in particular who had just gone through a similar process.

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Steve Floyd, Gwynne Goodfield and Alan Parham surveying the pitch works

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Following multiple recommendations and hours of research, the club decided that the new surface would be a Tiger Turf Evo Pro surface to be laid by Agri-Power. 

The finish line was in sight, but the club still required more funds to reach the target. There was substantial support from the Wrekin Housing Group, current and former hockey players and St Georges Sports and Social Club who were all generous in donating to the club.

Telford and Wrekin Council also supported the club to help secure the final funds before the contractors were given the go ahead to complete the resurfacing of the pitch at the beginning of May.

There are constant improvements being made to the facilities at the hockey club, with a new drain having been installed at the side of the pitch, as well as plans to refurbish the dugouts and service the floodlights. None of this could be possible without the hard work of the volunteer maintenance team that has recently been put together.

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After 2 years of ups and down, and hard work by all club members, Telford and Wrekin Hockey Club hope to have their new surface at the start of June.

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