Clubs can bid for lottery cash

SPORTS clubs and organisations in Northumberland can start bidding for a share of £2million of National Lottery money to protect and improve pitches and playing fields.

Dozens more teams and groups will get the chance to join the 36 projects in the North East that have already benefited from a total of over £1.6million of Sport England Protecting Playing Fields funding.

Through the initiative, investments of between £20,000 and £50,000 are allocated to bring disused playing fields back into use, improve the condition of pitches, buy new playing field land and purchase existing playing field land where there is a known threat, such as the expiry of a lease or a development proposal.

Sport England Chairman 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 organisation has also entered into a partnership with Fields in Trust (FIT) – an independent UK-wide charity dedicated to protecting and improving outdoor space for sport, play and recreation – to help 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 FIT, 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.”

Applications for round four of Protecting Playing Fields can be made via www.sportengland.org/funding/protecting_playing_fields.aspx

The deadline is February 18.