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March 26, 2012
Flood-damaged playing fields, clubs that were facing eviction and community sports teams without a home ground are among the projects sharing in a £2.5 million Olympic legacy windfall from Sport England.
The second round of Protecting Playing Fields legacy fund has brought National Lottery grants of between £20,000 and £50,000 to 61 playing fields across the country taking to 109 the number of playing fields that have benefited since the fund was launched.
Among those to receive funding is a recently formed football club in Devon which has received £50,000 to create a new home ground. Currently, Princeton Football Club has to make a 16-mile round trip to Tavistock to play on a proper pitch. With no other playing pitches in the village, the new pitch will help get many more local people involved in sport.
"We currently have no sports facilities - even the primary school is without a grassed area - and in a very rural and deprived area that's made it incredibly hard for people to get involved in sport," said Club Secretary, Anna Homden. "Having our own pitch will help our young residents to take up sport and will honestly change lives. It's a dream come true. We can't thank Sport England and the Lottery enough."
Other projects to also benefit include:
Hull City Council has received £30,715 to restore playing fields severely affected by the flooding in 2007. Following the heaviest rain fall in 150 years, the playing fields were left uneven and effectively unusable . The funding will be used to return an area of the playing fields into a cricket ground, incorporating two full size football pitches on the outfield.
£50,000 for a London community football club that was facing eviction from its current home. CB Hounslow now plans to double in size, offer new sports and develop five new pitches on a previously disused site at Green Lane that was offered by the council after a decision was made to end the club's lease on pitches in Norwood Green.
Wallsend Rugby Club in the North East which has had to train and play across two sites, will be closer to getting its first permanent home. Using its £50,000 of funding, the club will convert land leased to the club by North Tyneside Council into two high quality rugby pitches.
£50,000 for Oakfield Cricket Club in Warwickshire to end uncertainty over its future by buying its pitch. The investment means the club can move ahead with expansion plans that were put on hold because its current lease could see the club evicted with six months' notice.
"These investments will transform the local pitches where many young people have their first experience of sport," said Richard Lewis, Chair of Sport England. "With all of these playing fields safe from development for at least a generation, communities across England can look forward to years of sporting enjoyment.
All 61 playing fields will also be protected from developers for at least 25 years (1) , creating an enduring benefit for sport. And 33 are set to become Queen Elizabeth II Fields after agreeing to dedicate their playing field in "perpetuity". This is thanks 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 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"This fantastic investment into grassroots facilities in England will help to ensure that neighbourhoods can participate in sporting activities at all levels for years to come," said Alison Moore-Gwyn, Chief Executive of Fields in Trust. "We are delighted to see that over half of these playing fields will also be protected in perpetuity as part of the permanent legacy that the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge will create in tribute to the Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 Games."
Part of the Places People Play legacy programme, Protecting Playing Fields is bringing the inspiration and magic of a home Olympic and Paralympic Games into communities all over the country. A further £6 million will be awarded to hundreds of projects through three more funding rounds.
(1) Sport England will support community and voluntary groups and local authorities to protect all funded playing fields by placing a legal protection on the site for a minimum of 25 years.
"This fantastic investment into grassroots facilities in England will help to ensure that neighbourhoods can participate in sporting activities at all levels for years to come," said Alison Moore-Gwyn, Chief Executive of Fields in Trust.