Facilities present a huge challenge for football clubs across Wales.
But we are investing in innovative projects that provide solutions to the problem.
With most clubs unable to afford 3G artificial pitches at their grounds, they’re having to get increasingly creative with solving problems like drainage.
Gwent County's RTB Ebbw Vale FC are one such club.
Funding Officer Darren Mott spearheaded an application for £30,000 of FAW Trust and Sport Wales funding to upgrade the playing surface at their Hilltop ground.
He said: “We’ve been wasting money using local facilities when we have our own ground here.
“This grant will have a huge impact on our junior and mini sections because it means they will get more opportunities to use our main pitch.”
Club chairman Grant Matthews said: “Last season, our junior teams used the main pitch 12 times. Next season we expect them to use it 30 times. That’s the difference.”
By the kick-off of the 2018/19 season, the drainage overhaul will have been completed Newport based Nash Groundworks and the Hilltop pitch will be far better able to cope with the valleys weather.
Applying for the FAW Trust Pitch Improvement Grant and the Sport Wales Development Grant was an 18-month process, which included commissioning a report from the Institute of Groundsmanship, for the club whose senior teams compete in the Gwent County League and junior teams play in the Islwyn Junior League.
But now work has started, Mr Mott has developed a strategy to use the facility to attract closer links with the town’s schools.
He said: “The fencing around the ground makes it a safe place to be for school groups. Our neighbours Willowtown Primary School have already used it for some sports days but now we want to attract more community use.
“Getting this project completed has been a long process but we would advise clubs to be patient and not give-up.”
FAW Trust Football Development Manager Kevin Moon said Ebbw Vale RTB were awarded the grant because they are a proactive and ambitious FAW Trust accredited club based in a strategically important area.
He said: “They have a clear plan for the future of their club, which includes the asset transfer of additional grass pitches near to their Hilltop ground.”FIND OUT MORE ABOUT AVAILABLE GRANTS