Cash to develop playing fields

ORGANISATIONS in Northumberland can apply for funding to create or develop sports pitches and playing fields.

The £10million Protecting Playing Fields scheme, funded by the National Lottery, has been launched by Sport England and the Government.

Sport England will run five £2million funding rounds over the next three years to invest between £20,000 and £50,000 in hundreds of projects that will create, improve and protect playing fields by:

l Bringing disused playing fields back into use

l Improving the condition of pitches (e.g. levelling, drainage, re-seeding)

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

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

Every playing field supported by this fund will also be protected from developers for at least 25 years.

Sport England’s Chairman, Richard Lewis, said: “Playing fields are the places where many young people have their first experience of sport, where sporting dreams come true and where communities come together.

“Protecting Playing Fields is about safeguarding and enhancing those spaces and creating new, high-quality playing pitches where the next generation can enjoy sport. This is a great chance to bring the sporting legacy to life in your community.”

This scheme builds on the organisation’s work as a statutory consultee on all planning applications affecting a sports playing field.

Applications for round one of funding will be accepted via Sport England’s website – sportengland.org/funding – until July 6. For more information, telephone 08458 508508.