Bid to protect your playing field with £2m fund

Help improve your local football pitch with a share of £2m of Sport England funding

Communities across the country can today start bidding for a share of £2 million of National Lottery investment to protect and improve their local sports playing fields.

The latest round of Sport England’s Protecting Playing Fields fund will help enhance local playing fields or create new sports pitches.

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.

Sport England Chair, Richard Lewis, said: “Playing fields are a vital part of the sporting experience as it is where people often have their first experience of sport. This is a fantastic opportunity for more sports groups to benefit and give generations of young people great places to learn sport.”

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.

Through the Protecting Playing Fields fund, Sport England is making investments of between £20,000 and £50,000 to create, improve and protect playing fields by:

* Bringing disused playing fields back into use
* Improving the condition of pitches (e.g. levelling, drainage, reseeding)
* Buying new playing field land (not less than 0.2 hectares)
* Buying existing playing field land where there is a known threat, such as the expiry of a lease or a development proposal.

Sport England has also entered into a partnership with Fields in Trust (FIT) to support the protection of playing fields as part of the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge.

Successful applicants to Protecting Playing Fields who accept a Deed of Dedication of their playing field in “perpetuity” will have their project details passed to FIT. This will give them the opportunity to become a Queen Elizabeth II Field as part of the programme to mark the Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympics.

Alison Moore-Gwyn, Chief Executive of Fields in Trust, said: “The grants provided through the Protecting Playing Fields fund continue to build a legacy of greater participation in sport across England in the wake of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

"We are delighted that the partnership between Fields in Trust and Sport England is ensuring that the playing fields where these activities take place are also being protected for future generations.”

The opening of the fund follows recently published figures by Sport England that show 94% concluded planning applications affecting playing fields in 2010/11 resulted in improved or safeguarded sports provision.

As a statutory consultee on planning applications affecting playing fields, Sport England will object to all applications unless it improves or safeguards sports provision.

Source: Sport England

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