Mayor praises SSL hockey pitch refurbishment

SSL were delighted to be invited join the Mayor of East Staffordshire, as well as Barton Hockey Club and Burton Hockey Club, at a ceremony to celebrate the recent pitch refurbishment at Shobnall Leisure Complex, Burton-upon-Trent.

The project involved the replacement of the old synthetic turf and shockpad layer and careful preparatory works to the exposed pitch foundation. A new insitu rubber shockpad layer was installed using laser-levelled paving machinery before the stunning green and blue sand dressed synthetic turf was installed.

The new surface system was designed to achieve FIH Category 3, which is the highest hockey performance standard that a sand dressed turf can achieve. Field testing by an FIH approved test house confirmed all the required criteria had been achieved.

As East Staffordshire Council’s appointed pitch consultant, SSL initially surveyed the previous facility providing independent development advice and guidance enabling project budgets to be identified. SSL produced a detailed contract specification and design drawings which were used to facilitate a formal tender process in line with council procurement policies. Once works commenced onsite, the SSL team carried out several quality control checks to sign off each key construction stage.

The facility is managed by Everyone Active, the council’s leisure operating partner. Simon Morgan, Contract Manager for Everyone Active, commented: “We are delighted to provide this new artificial pitch and floodlights for the local community and beyond. The surface is top quality and will serve a variety of activities so people of all ages and interests will benefit from it.

Councillor Patricia Ackroyd, Mayor of East Staffordshire, remarked: “The refurbishment works to the facility have provided a wonderful new pitch for users, and we look forward to welcoming them here for many years to come.”

Season’s Greetings!

As of this evening, the SSL office will close for the festive period and will re-open on Tuesday 4th January.

We would like to wish all of our clients and associates a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Thank you to everyone who has supported SSL during the last 12 months. With a wide variety of exciting sports facility projects in the pipeline, we are already looking forward to 2022!

Chippenham Hockey Club pitch gains FIH certification

SSL are pleased to confirm that the synthetic pitch at Chippenham Hockey Club has been awarded FIH Category 3 certification, the highest FIH award for a sand dressed surface.

SSL were appointed in 2020 to carry out a pitch conditon survey and provide specialist advice with regards to replacement of the old synthetic turf surface. SSL went on administer a formal tender process where a detailed contract specification was provided to several specialist sports pitch contractors on which to submit firm price bids for the works. Once a contractor was appointed and works reached construction stage, SSL’s experienced surveyors were on hand to review each key stage of the works.

Following a field test carried out by an approved International Hockey Federation test house, the FIH have formally confirmed the resurfaced field satisfies the construction, performance and player welfare requirements of a FIH Category 3 hockey field (formerly known as FIH National). This means the pitch is suitable for national and local competition.

In addition to replacement of the synthetic turf surface system, the project also included the installation of a brand new spectator stand. The stand was constructed in accordance with latest Building Regulations for the Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds. Fencing improvement works and new sports equipment were also provided.

The facility is one of a number of hockey pitch projects that SSL have designed and delivered during 2021. With numerous other projects in the pipeline, we look forward to developing further high quality UK hockey pitch facilities during 2022.

Stunning New Hockey Pitch for Shobnall

Selected by East Staffordshire Borough Council to advise, design & project manage the full refurbishment of a synthetic turf pitch at Shobnall Leisure Complex in Burton-on-Trent, we are pleased to handover this stunning facility to a happy client.

The works included the removal of the old turf and shockpad and minor remedial works to the exposed tarmacadam base. A new insitu rubber shockpad layer was installed before the sand dressed synthetic turf complete with blue coloured surrounds. As an added touch the old timber kickboards to the base of the fenceline were fitted with a blue synthetic turf covering to protect the timber and reduce the noise impact of hockey ball strikes.

The new surface system is designed to achieve FIH performance standards and the project represents another high quality hockey pitch project delivered by the SSL team.

SSL Continue to Provide the Highest Standards

ISO 9001 is the internationally recognized standard for Quality Management Systems. It is the most widely used Quality Management System standard in the world.

Auditors have recently reviewed SSL’s management procedures and have confirmed that we continue to achieve ISO 9001 standards across all areas of the company. This is independent verification that SSL continue to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements.

At SSL we are confident that our service offering always meets the very highest standards. To ensure we maintain our position as industry leading sports facility consultants we are constantly striving to improve our service offering. So the recent audit is something we value and take very seriously.

The audit found zero areas of ‘major’ non-compliance and zero areas of ‘minor’ non-compliance. We received positive comments against 12 aspects of our management system including operational planning, support services, service provision, design/development and document control.

We are delighted with the recognition and look forward to providing a high quality service to existing and future SSL clients.

Cruyff Court Transforms London Space

At SSL we take pride in efficient use of space and developing facilities that will have real impact in the community. The development of this Cruyff Court in Brentford, West London is testament to what can be achieved.

Back in 2019 we first visited the site which at the time was a unforgiving area of tarmacadam. The area was used as a sports/recreational facility but the surface was suffering from undulations.

Working on behalf of the local council, the London Borough of Hounslow, SSL surveyed the site before putting together a feasibility report outlining options to transform the site.

Development of a detailed contract specification document and SSL design drawings followed. Once a contractor was appointed and onsite, SSL completed key stage quality control checks to provide independent reassurance to the Council that the works were being carried out to the required high standards, and in full compliance with the contract specification.

The project represents the latest facility to be supported by the Johan Cruyff Foundation. The organisation’s key vision is to to ensure children are provided with the space to take part in sports and be active. There are now over 200 Cruyff Courts worldwide providing facilities that are used by 65,000 children on a weekly basis.

At SSL we are delighted to be the sports facility consultant selected to develop the latest Cruyff Court in the UK, one which is sure to have a positive impact.

The end result
Area before development

SSL ‘Exactly the Company Needed’ for Pitch Resurface

At SSL we have extensive experience when it comes to synthetic pitch resurface projects. And we were delighted with the feedback received following our role overseeing the resurface of the synthetic pitch at Lodge Park Sports Centre in Corby.

SSL were appointed by Corby Borough Council to provide consultancy services relating to the resurface of one of their key leisure community assets.

As Kevin Williams, Sports Centre Leisure Manager, explains; “I was looking for a company to assist as I had no prior knowledge of what needed doing or how to put a specification together for such a project. It soon turned out that SSL were exactly the company that I needed.”

“Apart from undertaking the project during Covid-19 and all the issues that it brought, I think it’s a testament to SSL that there were no specific issues that weren’t resolved very quickly. The service meant that the project was very easy to handle from my perspective”.

“It was soon very easy to see the level of understanding that you have of your business and the needs of the client. SSL have a reputation that makes a client feel at ease and confident that you will deliver a high standard of service…which you did. Many thanks to Nick and all those involved at SSL”.

Following a detailed review of the old pitch by an experienced SSL Surveyor, we provided the council with a detailed survey report before advising on options for refurbishment and budget cost projections. After a design was agreed, SSL developed a contract specification that the council could issue to tender. Our pitch specific knowledge was vital in assisting with the analysis of contractor tender bids. We were also able to provide reassurance to the council during the works onsite as an SSL Surveyor was assigned to complete quality control inspections to sign off each key stage.

With SSL appointed by numerous other local authorities, schools, universities and sports clubs, we look forward to continuing to work hard to deliver high standard synthetic pitch resurface projects over the coming months.

Funding Grants Available for The Return of Grass Roots

With the eagerly awaited safe return of grass roots sport scheduled for the end of this month, we’re looking forward to seeing hundreds of facilities delivered by SSL back in use and benefitting local communities once again.

And in the run-up to this, three funding streams have been released to help the football community get the game back up and running. The funding is part of the ‘Game On’ initiative which is a collaboration between the FA, the Premier League, the Government and Sport England.

Community football clubs are urged to come forward and apply for grant funding via the Football Foundation. Details of the three funding opportunities can be found via

SSL Donate to a Community Cause

Reinvesting in the local community has surely never been more important. And when we heard about the social value policy adopted by Salford City Council we were delighted to play our part.

Last year we were selected as project consultants to oversee the successful refurbishment of over 10,000m2 of 3G pitches at Salford Sports Village.

And earlier this month we were delighted to return to Salford to make a donation to the Yogurt Pots Nursery, based on the same site. 

On receiving the donation Childcare Manager Nadine Murray commented; “Thank you so much for this lovely donation,  it really has made our Friday! We will put the donation towards some outside sports equipment for our after school club children”.  

SSL at the Forefront of Non-League 3G Stadia Pitches

SSL were proud to be engaged by Sevenoaks Town FC of the Isthmian League to oversee the design, planning and delivery of their 3G stadia pitch.

As independent synthetic pitch consultants, SSL have extensive experience of non-league stadia conversions. We are able to guide football clubs and their committees through the numerous key stages that need to be considered when converting a natural turf stadia pitch to 3G. 

In recent years, many non-league football clubs in the UK have opted to convert to 3G in order to adopt a more sustainable model, and to protect their long term future.

A high quality 3G synthetic turf, when correctly installed and appropriately maintained, can certainly provide for a more intensively used facility. This in turn allows that facility to be opened up to benefit the local community.

As most non-league stadiums already have associated infrastructure in place (car park, changing rooms, welfare facilities, clubhouse/bar, floodlighting etc), the addition of a 3G pitch can help to club become the focus of the community.

Hear about Sevenoak Town’s experiences by viewing the video…..