13 Aug 2006
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Sport England to improve playing fields across the country with £2 million fund
|Posted: 23rd October 2011
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Exactly 48 sports playing fields across the country are to be protected and improved in the first wave of National Lottery investment by Sport England's Protecting Playing Fields 2012 legacy fund.
Round one of the project saw just over £2 million offered to sports clubs and local groups to bring disused playing fields back into use, improve existing sites and create new sports pitches.
The announcement came as Sport England invited communities across the country to bid in the second £2 million round of Protecting Playing Fields with a further £8 million to be awarded to hundreds of projects through four more funding rounds.
"These investments will transform the local pitches where many young people have their first experience of sport," said Sport England chairman Richard Lewis.
"With all of the playing fields safe from development for at least a generation, communities across England can look forward to years of sporting enjoyment."
All the 48 playing fields receiving investment will be protected from developers for at least 25 years, with 27 of them set to become Queen Elizabeth II Fields after agreeing to dedicate their playing field in perpetuity.
This is due to a partnership with Fields in Trust (FIT) which is running the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge as part of the programme to mark the Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Games.
The 48 playing fields each received funding offers of between £20,000 and £50,000.
Recipients included Tufnell Park Playing Fields in Islington, who received the top level of funding at £50,000 to drain and level their land in what is the London borough with the fewest playing fields, and Cobham Sports Association in Surrey who were also awarded the highest funding to turn a derelict golf driving range into three new multisport grass pitches.
More than half of the groups benefiting from Protecting Playing Fields are community sports clubs, while six are playing field associations, five are parish councils and three are schools or colleges.
The awards also include the purchase of five playing field sites totalling 25 acres and 13 pitches.
Sport England have simplified the application process and reduced the technical expertise required to bid in a move to open up the funding to groups that haven't previously received public money and it has proved successful so far as almost half the successful bidders (23) were first-time applicants.
"When we speak about leaving a lasting legacy from hosting the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games it's about offering people more opportunities and better facilities to play sport, and protecting playing fields is central to this ambition," said Minister for Sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson.
"Thousands of sportsmen and women will now benefit from Sport England's Protecting Playing Fields legacy fund seeing improvements to existing sites and bringing disused community playing fields back into use."
Protecting Playing Fields is part of the £135 million National Lottery funded programme Places People Play, which is being delivered by Sport England in an attempt to capitalise on London hosting the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Protecting Playing Fields builds on the work Sport England already does to safeguard playing fields as a statutory consultee on all planning applications affecting a sports playing field.
Applications for round two of Protecting Playing Fields will be accepted via Sport England's website between October 24 and December 12, 2011, with community and voluntary sector groups able to apply without partnership funding.
Applications can be made by visiting Sport England - Funding Guidelines or by calling 08458 508 508.
Scuba Divers supported the Games in 2012, did you? Anonymous