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Olympic Legacy Fund Provides Vital Protection and Investment for Playing Fields

Published: 16th May 2012 12:08

Communities across the country can now bid for a share of £2 million to protect and improve their local sports playing fields.

Cricket ballThe 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.

109 projects have already benefited from a total of £4.8million thanks to Protecting Playing Fields, including the creation of a new playing field in a Devon village where locals previously had to make a 16-mile round trip every time they wanted to play football.

As part of the Places People Play Olympic and Paralympic legacy programme, the fund is bringing to life the inspiration and magic of a home Olympic and Paralympic Games for communities all over the country.

Sport England's Chair, 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."

Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson MP 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."

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: "Our partnership with Sport England is proving to be a great way to further our reach and ensure the maximum amount of playing fields are protected through the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge. We are delighted to be working with Sport England to ensure that 2012 brings a real sporting legacy to the communities of the UK."

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