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.