Sports Minister Hugh Robertson and Sport England have launched a £10 million fund to protect and improve sports fields across the country.
Protecting Playing Fields, which was launched in London’s Regents Park today, will help communities to enhance local playing fields or create new sports pitches.
The initiative is part of the Places People Play legacy programme, which aims to help bring to life the inspiration of a home Olympic and Paralympic Games for communities all over the country.
Mr Robertson said: “As part of hosting the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games we want to offer people better facilities and more opportunities to play sport. This £10 million lottery investment will help achieve that. Not only will it further protect playing fields from developers, but also create new ones and improve pitches up and down the country.”
Sport England’s Chair, 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.”
Sport England will fun five £2 million funding rounds over the next three years, investing sums of between £20,000 and £50,000 in schemes such as buying new playing field land, improving the condition of pitches through drainage or bringing disused sports fields back into use. Every area supported by the fund will also be protected from developers for at least 25 years.
Sport England has also teamed up with Fields in Trust to give applicants to Protecting Playing Fields the opportunity to become a Queen Elizabeth II Field as part of the programme to mark the Diamond Jubilee and London 2012.