PITCHES across Westmorland are set to be enhanced due to an upcoming development scheme.

Pitches are set to benefit from £34,500 worth of investment from a new scheme set up by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government’s Football Foundation.

The Pitch Preparation Fund was set up in support of the game, which is currently facing unprecedented challenges because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

It is providing grants to clubs that have lost out on normal revenue streams during this difficult period and helping them to get their pitches ready for when it is safe to play football again, following the Government’s advice.

The Fund was met with a hugely positive reception in the two-and-a-half weeks the application window was open during May.

As a result, £34,500 has been awarded to 19 clubs and organisations. This will allow 40 football pitches to be made match-fit, benefitting 71 local football teams.

After the exposure of the Pitch Preparation Fund, the Football Foundation also received an increase of 176% in its regular facility grant applications during May, compared with April.

Many more football sites will be improved over and above those receiving Pitch Preparation Fund grants.

Robert Sullivan, interim chief executive of the Football Foundation, said: “This new investment into Westmorland will provide crucial support for football in the area.

“Our national game is a proven driver of mental and physical health benefits, so it’s important local pitches are match-fit in the event that the Government announces it’s safe for the game to start again.

“That is why we’ve worked with the Premier League, The FA, the Government and Sport England to set up the Pitch Preparation Fund.

“These 19 grants we’re announcing today will help ensure 40 pitches across Westmorland are in a good condition when the time comes.”

James Pattison, football development officer, said: “This funding from the Football Foundation will be essential to enable our clubs prepare for the forthcoming season. This is one of the biggest schemes in recent years for our County FA and to get 19 successful applications for funding is brilliant.”

The grants awarded will help with essential maintenance works toward grass pitches, including slitting, over seeding, fertilising and weed killer, as well as routine preparatory works such as grass cutting and the setting out and line marking of pitches. For artificial surfaces, eligible works include deep cleaning, over marking and FA pitch testing.