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Leading multinational pitch manufacturer makes £1.8m commitment to the UK

Cumbria-based SIS Pitches makes major factory and technology investment in face of Brexit uncertainty
A leading UK-based pitch manufacturing company has invested £1.8 million in a new turf production facility, safeguarding more than 50 jobs, and creating an additional 15 positions by 2022.
Despite the uncertainty facing UK businesses through Brexit, SIS Pitches has re-affirmed its commitment to British manufacturing with this major investment.
The purchase of a new backing plant will allow SIS Pitches to extend its current site in Maryport, Cumbria, increase production volumes and grow its workforce.
It’s welcome news for Cumbria, where unemployment rose by 1.5% between October and December last year, as recorded by the Office for National Statistics.
SIS Pitches is a world-leading full-service provider in specialist sports pitches and landscaping grass. Last year, SIS Pitches designed, constructed and installed SISGrass hybrid pitches at six 2018 World Cup venues, including the Luzhniki Stadium pitch for the opening match and the Final.
The new factory, which covers an area of more than 2,100 square metres, is one of the most technologically-advanced production facilities in Europe. The company will use the new factory to deliver the highest quality, long-lasting synthetic surfaces.
George Mullan, SIS Pitches Owner and CEO, said: “This investment in new state-of-the-art facilities and technology will support our ambitious growth plans while also creating and safeguarding jobs in the local community.
“The Glasson Industrial Estate has been at the heart of manufacturing for more than 50 years and, despite business uncertainty in the face of Brexit, we are very proud to be able to continue that tradition through this significant investment. We are also grateful to Cumbria LEP for their investment in the project.
“Our new factory will ensure we continue to provide the highest quality products and increased output, maintaining our position as the market leader in the manufacturing of synthetic turf.”
The expansion plans at the Glasson Industrial Estate has benefited from a £274,000 Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership investment, which supports wide-ranging projects including transport, skills, business support, broadband, innovation and flood defences through its Local Growth Fund.
The site has been home to UK turf manufacturing since 1966, when Palmyra Ltd, the UK’s largest polypropylene artificial grass manufacturer, relocated to the north west of England as part of its expansion plans.
The new SIS Pitches facility utilises the latest technology in thermal insulation, LED lighting, laser-fire detection and advanced cladding systems, while the new backing plant will be the most advanced turf backing system in the UK.
The state-of-the-art coating line, the most advanced in Europe, provides SIS Pitches with the option to run either new standard latex coating or their new ‘SISBond’ Polyurethane technology, both of which are applied to the back of the synthetic turf during the manufacturing process to secure the artificial grass fibres to the backing cloth. The line also comprises new turf straighteners and guidance units to ensure products are fit for purpose, plus an advanced roll-up unit to eliminate creasing and enable turf to be rolled tighter than before.
SISBond Polyurethane has been specially engineered to provide a much stronger and durable backing than other systems. It is primarily used for elite performance, providing enhanced fibre retention and greater resistance to moisture.
In addition, SIS Pitches has also developed and launched a new UK-made premium yarn that is designed to maximise durability and fibre resilience, thus further enhancing their reputation as market-leaders in turf innovation and technology.


Queen’s Award for Allett Mowers

Allett, the Staffordshire based specialist cylinder mower manufacturer, has won the coveted Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade 2019 in recognition of its growth in exports and contribution to the British economy.
A wholly British-owned company, Allett has designed and manufactured mowers for the sports and premium lawns market for over fifty years. The award marks a major period of development for the company, with ranges of new products launched to meet the needs of strong emerging markets. Allett’s main export success has been achieved with their professional products for sports stadiums and training grounds, achieving increased sales with the USA, Russia, Germany, France, the Czech Republic and Spain leading their top ten markets in the past three years.
“We’re very honoured to receive the Queen’s Award,” says Austin Jarrett, Allett’s Managing Director, “it recognises our achievements and team efforts in bringing innovative developments in our mowing systems to meet challenges in overseas markets with large potential. We’re no longer confined to the seasonality of domestic sales cycles in the UK. Our mowers and turf maintenance systems are used throughout the world where they are maintaining sports surfaces and lawns to the highest standards.”
Allett was the major supplier to the host stadiums and contractors in Russia for the 2018 World Cup football tournament. The company concentrates on assisting a World Cup country for a period of three years to help attain the striking light green-dark green stripes in time for the main tournament. Markets with large potential such as the USA offer access to developments for sports such as American football and baseball as well as soccer. South America, where previously they have not had the financial resources, is now a developing market, says the company. Allett has placed its first mowing systems in China where there are great World Cup ambitions.
“The groundsmen in the UK are recognised as being the best in the world and they demand the highest standards from their equipment suppliers,” says Austin. “This demand drives our engineering team to improve and develop our mowing systems which consequently produce world class sports surfaces and garden lawns. We have benefitted from this and we are confident that we can deliver improved standards to the stadiums and lawns using our systems in the rest of the world. This is because of the help we get from our great customers in the UK. Every one of our machines proudly wears a Union Flag decal, and this really helps us in our export markets where the UK is revered for their lawns.
“We will be hosting Pitch Maintenance training seminars in China this year,” adds Austin, “to help set standards and expectations for the playing surfaces in this huge country which is growing rapidly as a footballing nation. Allett is more than just a machine. We’re strengthening our technical support and embarking on a plan of new product development to concentrate on a wider range of grass and sports turf maintenance products.”
Allett recently launched and continue to develop products powered by Lithium-ion battery, with the advantages of zero emissions at the point-of-use, low vibration for the operator and almost no noise. To accommodate the growth of the business Allett recently moved their Hixon, Staffordshire base to a new, larger factory. The company has an After-Sales team in place to support overseas national distributors and, as export sales grow, consider it is important to maintain the ‘brand value’ which has been a keystone to home market success. Allett say the recognition of achievement the Queen’s Award for Enterprise brings is a proud moment in its history, and one the company can bear as a premium standard into the export markets of the future.


Celebrating Excellence In Grounds Management

Nominations are now open for the 2019 Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) Industry Awards that recognise the passion, dedication and challenges faced by grounds staff in both grassroots and professional sports at clubs of every size and from all corners of the UK. This year’s 20 award categories include a new award for an organisation or individual that/who has championed the groundscare industry abroad.
Now in their 11th year, the awards – being presented on Wednesday October 30 at The Vox, located in Resorts World at the Birmingham NEC, on the evening of the first day of the SALTEX exhibition, and hosted by BBC TV presenter Dan Walker – have continually grown in status for acknowledging the achievements of volunteer and professional grounds teams, as well as community clubs and national stadia.
Commenting, IOG chief executive Geoff Webb says: “The awards continue to provide the only national stage for the achievements of everyone involved in groundscare across all levels of sport – with every award being judged by high-profile grounds personnel. Please take the time to nominate as you must know many deserving candidates and great examples of sports turf management at every level.”

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