Keeping grassroots alive

A giant billboard made from living turf has commissioned by Greene King to support Proud to Pitch In, a grassroots funding scheme where 10p from pints of Greene King IPA sold (plus 50p from 4x500ml can packs) goes towards funding grassroots sports clubs.

Proudly on display in the Birmingham city centre earlier this week, passers-by were able to pick up free cans of Greene King IPA from the pop-up bar. Every time they did, the living billboard was watered via an in-built sprinkler system, symbolising that keeping the beer flowing is the way to keep the grass growing.

Research from Greene King’s Proud to Pitch In scheme has identified some of the main issues faced by clubs. For many grassroots sports, waterlogged pitches are often the main cause of cancellation, often with last-minute notice and potential financial losses. On the reverse, hot weather can cause dry, hardened grass surfaces that can put players at higher risk of head injury and concussion, particularly in sports like rugby.

With over a quarter (26%) of people claiming their local sports club needs more funding for better quality pitches, amongst other necessary elements such as kits, clubhouses and equipment, Greene King IPA is encouraging the nation to get behind the scheme and support grassroots clubs*.

Supporting the scheme on the ground was skilled gardener, David Domoney.

David Domoney, chartered horticulturist and celebrity gardener, said: “Pitch maintenance is an incredibly complex business – it takes months of dedicated, specialist care to keep a track, pitch or court up to standard and the sad reality is, many clubs can’t afford it.

“For many sports, specialist equipment it needed to maintain the turf all year round, and with disruptive weather, which we get a lot of in this country, it can have a serious impact on maintenance.

“As well as financial implications, poor quality turf is a major safety issue, and unfortunately many clubs are being forced to cancel games rather than risk injury for their players.

“I’m incredibly proud to support Proud to Pitch In, so if you want to do your bit for grassroots sport, make sure you pick up a pint of Greene King IPA.”

Emma Hibbert, Head of Marketing for Greene King IPA, said: “We launched the Proud to Pitch In scheme almost two years ago and we’re delighted to see the impact the funding is having on community sport, however we know there’s a long way to go and even more clubs we can help.

“Grassroots sport has a major impact not just on local communities, but at every level of the sporting pyramid. So many of today’s grassroots players will go on to be stars in their own right, and with England set to face off against South Africa this weekend, now is the perfect time to get behind the scheme and keep the grassroots growing.”

To date, Proud to Pitch In has awarded over £600,000 in funding to clubs. If you are part of a grassroots sports team and want to learn more about Proud to Pitch in, visit: https://www.greeneking-pubs.co.uk/proud-to-pitch-in/.