Playing fields to benefit from Olympic legacy fund

Waterlogged pitches and disused playing fields brought back into use are among the latest projects to benefit from Sport England’s Protecting Playing Fields fund.

54 playing fields across the country will share £2.4 million of National Lottery funding to create 165 high-quality sports pitches that will be protected from developers for at least 25 years.

The Protecting Playing Fields fund is part of the £150 million Places People Play legacy programme that is bringing the magic of a home Olympic and Paralympic Games into communities across the country. Every sports facility that receives funding will carry the London 2012 Inspire mark – celebrating the link to this summer’s Games.

Sport England Chair Richard Lewis said: “Thanks to these investments, generations of young people all over the country can look forward to playing sport on great sports pitches. Playing fields are vital sporting resources for local communities so it’s vital that we provide both investment and protection.”

Overall, 163 projects have benefited from a total of £7.8million of investment from the three rounds of Protecting Playing Fields funding, with 504 pitches and nearly 1,900 acres protected and improved, and 57.4 acres of land purchased.

Many more playing fields are also set to benefit from a further £4 million of funding over the two remaining rounds of Protecting Playing Fields, with the fourth round opening for bids before Christmas.

Minister for Sport Hugh Robertson MP said: “Good facilities are vital to keep up the momentum from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and encourage people to get involved in sport. This investment from the National Lottery will improve and protect playing fields and boost community sport up and down the country.”

With all 54 playing fields protected for 25 years, 30 of them 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.

Local football pitches – what do you think?

What are your local football pitches like? Could your area do with some of this type of government funding? Could your football club do with more options for where to play?

We’d all love to see more quality football pitches in this country, but who do you think should foot the bill?

We want to hear from you, so have your say in our comments section below.

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Dan Pope
Writer at Teamer
Freelance writer, editor and copywriter, with a passion for grassroots sport. A right back turned football writer, Dan is the former editor of Club Website and has been lucky enough to work in the field of grassroots and community sport for the last 10 years.

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  1. Steve tucker on October 21, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Why is down to Olympic funding and not the Fa if it’s football pitches.
    They spent all the money available on the new st georges park.Which we will never set foot upon as a local grass roots club.

  2. Kevan Locke on October 22, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    Barnsley Council could do with some of the money available. The parks pitches in this area are a disgrace & we are paying a premium price to use them!

  3. Kevin Wilks on October 23, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Our pitch at Woodgate Valley in Birmingham is nothing more than a field with posts at either end and some markings. It is very poorly maintained by Birmingham City Council, who are on record with REFF as spending the least out of all councils in the country on football facilities.

    This new funding is sorely needed, but there needs to be strict guidelines put in place to ensure that is spent correctly. If it is given to BCC without any caveats attached, it will disappear into a black hole and no improvements will be in evidence.

  4. msb03 on October 25, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    I’ve been involved in football for a number of years now 35 yrs + and we are still talking about the sames issues now as we were then how poor the local facilities are, no money being spent of pitches, a complete lack of changing facilities increasing rents for clubs to use the pitches, a complete lack of pitches and so on.

    Every now and again some bright spark jumps on the bandwagon and announces more money being available to improve everything but when you try to apply for the funding you find out because you are not the seventh son of a seventh son with blue eyes instead of brown you are not elidgable for any of this funding, so tough!. The money always seems to go to those areas where vast amounts of money has already gone, namely inner city areas, what about the forgotten masses out in the countryside we still need the same help improving everything for our players as well.

  5. Martin on October 25, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Do the maths, assuming that the money is to be spent on the playing surfaces and not changing rooms and toilets etc then 2.4 million between 54 sites amounts to less than £45000 each or £14500 per pitch. By the time the surveys and specifications have been paid for there will be even less to spend. If the money is to include changing rooms etc then it won’t even scratch the surface. To improve the standard of this countries facilities to anywhere near those in Europe will cost billions not a few million.

  6. Amanda Morris on November 30, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    I am club secretary of Freethorpe football club and we have been very fortuate to have great changing room facilities funded by Sport England and the football Foundation. But our football pitches need attention. The Fa wants to know is if they are the correct size for the teams the club has but they do not offer any funding for maintenance. Freethorpe Fc currently has 2 mens teams, 1 ladies team and 7 youth teams (various ages).As you can imagine our 2 pitches take a bit of a battering each week, they have poor drainage and tree roots showing through the turf. Our groundsman is in his late 70s so to get any kind of funding to help resolve some of our issues like replacing our broken grass cutter instead of contracting it out to someone else to do would be a good thing.

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