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Learning LIVE signals opportunity

The SALTEX 2017 free education programme is set to inspire visitors at the NEC on 1 and 2 November.

With the full Learning LIVE programme set to be revealed in the coming weeks, the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) has released a few teaser seminars. The programme looks set to provide limitless opportunities and inspire and educate visitors from a wide range of sectors within the turfcare industry.

Now in its third year, SALTEX’s free-to-attend education programme has gone from strength to strength. Last year, Learning LIVE saw 53 unique seminars, 99 high-profile speakers and many key topical issues explored. For 2017, the programme will follow the same successful format developed over the past two years situated within four purpose-built seminar theatres on the show floor with state-of-the-art sound systems and screens.

Within the theatres a number of influential speakers will be on hand to provide updates and key advice. Mark Pover, facilities investment strategy manager at The Football Association (FA), will be participating in a panel debate entitled ‘Funding the future of natural turf.’ With so much money being invested into artificial turf, SALTEX visitors will have an opportunity to ask the funders if there is a danger of natural turf being left behind.

Commenting on the panel debate, Mark said: "We haven't forgotten the fact that the majority of football matches in this country are played on natural grass. We have just shy of 800 artificial pitches on our 3G register suitable for affiliated matches and we are continuing to invest in these but there are approximately 23,000 natural grass pitches. Clearly these are very important, as is the quality, so we will continue to improve and use natural turf pitches to keep people playing and also attract new players.

"We are currently spending two million pounds a year on natural turf pitch improvements and I believe that SALTEX is the ideal place to update the industry so that visitors understand exactly what we are doing and the targets we have set. It is also a good opportunity to address some of the negative rumours that are circulated annually and reinforce our commitment to natural turf."

For those visitors that are looking to progress their career, the ‘Career development’ seminar presented by Steve Chappell, head greenkeeper at the PGA Centenary Golf Course at The Gleneagles Hotel, should not be missed. Steve will be primarily focusing on how volunteering can significantly help improve job prospects.

“The thought process behind the session is to provide a little bit more of an understanding of how volunteering can help improve and embellish your CV,” says Steve. “It can help you stand out from the crowd and be more employable to a prospective employer.

“The seminar would be beneficial for younger people in the industry, and also maybe for those who feel they have become stuck in a rut. The message behind it all, is to use the opportunities that are out there to develop yourself because it can help you take that next step which will give you that career fulfilment you are looking for.”

Additionally, the seminar ‘Making your move’ will be beneficial in helping a visitor along their career path. Wayne Billing, head groundsman at Northampton Saints RFC; Stuart Kerrison, head groundsman at Essex CCC and Danny Beckley, head of estates and grounds at Harrow School, will all be on hand to reveal the secrets behind making it to the top within their respective fields.

For further inspiration, John Ledwidge will be documenting his rise from starting in an apprentice position through to being the current grounds manager at Leicester City FC in ‘From apprentice to grounds manager’. In a separate seminar John will also be joined by the rest of his grounds team in a session entitled ‘Building a team for success.’

By attending any of these seminars within the programme, SALTEX visitors have the opportunity to enhance their CV as IOG and Basis CPD points are available for all Learning LIVE sessions. Attendance at the seminars can be recorded by picking up a CPD form from the IOG Hub (Stand C180) and can contribute towards the minimum requirement of 35 hours in 12 months in order to qualify for the IOG’s Certificate of CPD Achievement.

After being motivated by the Learning LIVE seminars, visitors can visit SALTEX 2017’s new feature - the Job Clinic. Located on the IOG Hub, industry expert Frank Newberry will be hosting 15-minute one-to-one sessions covering CV writing to interview techniques. To book an appointment with Frank, visitors are advised to go to the IOG information desk on the IOG Hub as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

Located in the centre of the UK, whether you are travelling from overseas or within the UK, the NEC is incredibly easy to get to by car, rail or air. No matter what route you take, one thing is certain - opportunity awaits on November 1 and 2 at SALTEX 2017.

The full programme of SALTEX events will be regularly updated via

Visitor registration to SALTEX 2017 is free. To confirm your attendance visit

Follow SALTEX on Twitter @IOG_SALTEX and Facebook –


MK Dons FC Chairman unveils Moretonville JFC's brand new changing pavilion in Buckinghamshire

Pete Winkelman, Chairman of Milton Keynes Dons FC, officially opened Moretonville JFC's (MJFC) state-of-the-art changing pavilion and refurbished clubhouse recently (Saturday 2 September), which was made possible thanks to a grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, delivered by the Football Foundation.

Moretonville JFC can now provide their 400 players with brand new changing facilities, which have replaced the dilapidated cabins the club previously used. In addition to refurbishing it, the grant has enabled the club to extend their existing clubhouse to include the new pavilion, comprising: four team changing rooms; two officials’ changing rooms and spectator toilets.

Other users of the clubhouse and changing provision will include: The Buckingham School; Sports 4 All; Just 4 Keepers and the University of Buckingham. The Berkshire & Buckinghamshire FA will also use the facility as a venue for delivering FA referee and coaching education.

One of the largest clubs in the area, Moretonville JFC was named the best Charter Standard Community Club in Buckinghamshire this year. They also scooped the corresponding FA Regional Award for the 2015/16 season. The club hopes that their new pavilion will help them to attract and retain even more players. 

Moretonville have worked alongside the Berks and Bucks FA and the Football Foundation to compile a five-year Football Development Plan, which is a vision of how sport will be played on site with an emphasis on increasing participation.

The club currently runs 34 teams, ranging from the Under-7 to the Under-18 level, and an Under-6 training squad. They plan to introduce five brand new teams, four of which will be girls’. This is expected to boost female football participation at the facility by 117%. The club will also link with Launton Ladies FC, to improve player pathways for girls.

MJFC already has strong links with the area’s senior club, Buckingham Athletic FC, who will play some league fixtures at the facility. Additionally, Moretonville JFC will work with the Berks & Bucks FA to set up walking football sessions, which will take advantage of the new clubhouse and changing pavilion. As a result, football participation at the site is expected to rise by 256% in those over the age of 26.

The club worked in partnership with the Berks and Bucks FA to secure a £284,733 grant from the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation. The club also raised £40,000 in partnership funding, and received £50,000 from the Sport England Inspired Facilities Fund and £25,000 from the Aylesbury Vale Community Chest.

This is the second grant delivered by the Football Foundation that the club has benefited from. The University of Buckingham secured a £50,212 grant on the club’s behalf in 2002, which helped to improve the grass pitches used by MJFC.

Founded in 2000, the Football Foundation is the largest sports charity in the UK funded by the Premier League, The FA and Government, via Sport England. It develops new and refurbished grassroots sports facilities in order to improve the quality and experience of playing sport at the grassroots level. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 15,000 grants worth more than £580m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £800m – £1.4bn of investment into the grassroots game.

Since 2000, the Football Foundation Funding Partners’ investment has provided 312 grants worth £10.4m towards grassroots sports projects worth over £73.8m across the whole of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.

By providing more high-quality facilities, coupled with coaching at the appropriate age group, the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund aims to improve the experience for regular players as well as attracting new players to the game. Many of the new state-of-the-art facilities will serve to strengthen the connection between professional football clubs and their local communities, particularly in the most deprived areas of the country, through the professional clubs’ community trusts’ outreach work.

Phil Doran, Chairman of Moretonville, said: “We have come a long way since 1969 when we had a couple of teams playing on the parkland in Maids Moreton. We are indebted to the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund for this fantastic contribution. So many young people from this area will benefit from our facilities. We pride ourselves on providing a fun and secure environment where young people have a social outlet of grassroots sport that enables them to develop as both footballers and young people. This facility will have such a positive impact on that ethos”.

Liz Pill, Head of Delivery for the Berks & Bucks FA, said: “Moretonville JFC affiliate with over 30 teams and have a clear pathway for Under-7s to Under-18s with strong adult links. They are a terrific club, well organised and very committed. The infrastructure of the new changing rooms will ensure that there is a sustainable and lasting legacy for young people within the local community. This project is a great example of how to improve participation and standards within a club environment.”

Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “The Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund provides the investment necessary to improve grassroots football facilities. So, I am delighted to see Moretonville JFC join thousands of local clubs who have reaped its benefit, in this case through the opening of a new changing pavilion.

“Having delivered over £1.4bn of grassroots sports infrastructure projects, the Football Foundation has developed a network of accessible, first-class facilities in areas they will have the greatest impact – thanks to money from the Premier League, The FA and the Government via Sport England.

“These facilities are more than places to play football at, these facilities are hubs of physical activity, the bedrock of local communities and ‘homes from home’ for so many who also use them as social outlets to learn new skills, gain work experience and other qualifications.”


White Light on Right Track for IAAF Congress and Dinner

The IAAF World Championships London 2017 were the biggest sporting event in the world this year and the biggest event to be held at the London Stadium since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. With this being the first time the Championships have ever been held in the UK, the event witnessed the retirement of legendary sprinter Usain Bolt and the major championship track farewell of British great Sir Mo Farah. The Championships achieved an official Guinness World Record for the number of tickets sold with over 705,000 recorded while over 150,000 spectators lined a landmark filled marathon course in the city. With the IAAF World Championships taking place in London, this meant that both the IAAF Congress and Gala Dinner were also held in the Capital. White Light was called upon to provide technical solutions on each event.

This year’s IAAF World Championships London 2017 were held from 4th – 13th August and saw 2,200 athletes from 203 nations compete. The official opening of the IAAF Congress, which featured a Gala Dinner, took place at London’s Tate Modern on Tuesday 1st August and welcomed more than 200 of the IAAF’s 214 Member Federations. WL’s Senior Accounts Manager Dominic Yates comments: “The official opening was presented by IAAF President Lord Sebastian Coe and had some extremely high-profile guests in attendance. It took place in Turbine Hall of Tate Modern; a space we are now extremely familiar with due to our approved supplier status”.

For the opening Gala Dinner, WL was called upon to provide the full production support. With a team of 25 technicians, led by Project Manager Martin Strods, the company supplied the lighting, audio, rigging and scenery. Dominic states: “We drew on our extensive inventory to help create an unforgettable start to this year’s IAAF Congress. For the lighting, we drew on the Martin MAC Viper Performances and MAC Auras, CORE Lighting Colourpoints all controlled via a Grand MA2. We also supplied the audio system which consisted of the EM Acoustics HALO C Line Array, the EM 81s, 121s and 218s speakers along with Shure Radio microphones. For the content that was being relayed as part of the speeches, we drew on our Christie 4K30 Boxer Projectors as well as providing 2 x 95” Panasonic Plasma screens to ensure all of the delegates felt part of the evening”.

Regarding timescale, WL installed the lighting and audio system the previous evening, whilst they had 45 minutes before the actual event to fly the projection screens and set up all elements on the floor of the Turbine Hall. Dominic states: “The Turbine Hall is in constant use, as it was during the day of the event, so we had to plan intricately to ensure we could turn up at 6pm and have everything ready for that evening”. 

Following the opening Gala Dinner, the IAAF then held their 2017 Congress at ExCeL on 2nd – 3rd August. During the two days, they welcomed more than 800 international delegates from more than 200 member federations. Lord Sebastian Coe once again opened proceedings. Dominic states: “It was a busy few days with both projects running concurrently. The Congress was essentially a two-day conference in which the IAAF could review their previous year and look at putting forward proposals to their future constitutions”.

Such was the scale of the event that WL worked in three of the ExCeL spaces – the main auditorium, the Capital Hall and the Capital Suites. A team of 20 were led by crew chiefs Hadyn Williams and Tony Simpson, with Mark Cuniffe and Quentin Jarman providing the lighting design.

Dominic comments: “In order to realise Mark and Quentin’s design, we drew on 110 x SGM P5 Floods, 70 x ETC ColourForce 12s, 55 x ETC ColourForce 72s, 22 x Martin Mac III Performances and 16 x Martin Mac Viper Performances. This was all controlled via a Grand MA 2 Control System. This was all flown from nearly 100 motors and 420m of Prolyte H30V Truss”.

Both the Gala Dinner and Congress went extremely well; prefacing what was an extremely successful IAAF World Championship London 2017. Dominic states: “It was fantastic to be involved with such a high-profile event and provide technical support on two major events from the IAAF. It was a busy three days but our resources and equipment ensured that we delivered everything on time to a range of events that received global recognition”.

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