The mower the merrier as well grounded history project gets £43,700 Lotto grant

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A project designed in Milton Keynes to get more young people interested in grounds care as a career has received a £43,700 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG), based in Stratford Office Village, Walker Avenue, Wolverton Mill East, has organised a project to research how the way grounds staff work in London 2012 compared with the Games in 1948.

Last year the IOG set up the Young IOG Board with six directors aged from 18 to 25 and they will take charge of the Get into Grounds project. The young researchers taking part have been drawn from the IOG apprenticeship scheme as well as Duke of Edinburgh Award participants from the Milton Keynes area.

The project will work with a range of partners, including the Sports Heritage Network, the National Football Museum and Wembley Stadium, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme plus the Hall and Duck Trust, which boasts the world’s largest collection of vintage lawn mowers. The findings will be presented at a public exhibition.

Milton Keynes is a priority area for the Heritage Lottery Fund and Stuart McLeod, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South East England, said: “Maintaining sports grounds and parks for public and competitive use is a demanding task and this project will provide a fascinating insight into how this was achieved in the past compared with today. Those taking part will benefit from acquiring new skills and the profession could be helped in acquiring some new recruits.”

IOG chief executive, Geoff Webb, said: “It is an IOG strategic aim to encourage as many young people as we can into the industry – an industry that provides enjoyment and reward for thousands and one that continues to evolve in terms of the ‘science’ and application of managing and maintaining playing surfaces.”