Fund to help safeguard sports fields

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COMMUNITIES across south east Northumberland are being encouraged to start bidding for a share of £2m to protect and improve local sports playing fields.

The National Lottery investment is on offer in the latest round of Sport England’s Protecting Playing Fields fund to enhance local playing fields or create new sports pitches.

A total of 21 projects in the north east have already benefited from a total of £927,651 thanks to Protecting Playing Fields.

Sport England chairman Richard Lewis said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for sports groups to celebrate this summer’s Games by improving local sports pitches.

“Every playing field that benefits will be protected from developers for at least 25 years, giving a generation of young people great places to learn sport.”

Through the Protecting Playing Fields fund, Sport England is making investments of between £10,000 and £50,000 to create, improve and protect playing fields by:

n Bringing disused playing fields back into use;

n Improving the condition of pitches (e.g. levelling, drainage, reseeding);

n Buying new playing field land (not less than 0.2 hectares);

n Buying existing playing field land where there is a known threat, such as the expiry of a lease or a development proposal.

Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson, pictured, said: “As part of the legacy from London 2012 we want to offer people better facilities and more opportunities to play sport.

“Not only will this lottery investment further protect playing fields from developers but also create new ones and improve pitches up and down the country.”

The closing date for the latest funding is July 9, and for further information go to www.sportengland.org/funding.aspx