Help protect playing fields

A BRIGHOUSE councillor has called on sport clubs, charities and voluntary groups to help secure the future of playing fields in the area.

Coun Colin Stout (Ind) is urging representatives from clubs and organisations to come together and help plan team’s applications for a share of £10 million of National Lottery funding launched by Sport England.

“This is an ideal opportunity to secure the future of pitches, improve them and provide new ones for clubs needing them,” he said. “With the severe council cuts, this is a great way of getting the funding sport clubs need.

“There are a lot of active sport groups in the area so we can put together strong applications and we can get the funding so Brighouse doesn’t miss out on this.

“Clubs can get in contact with myself or we can organise a meeting with all the sport teams to discuss things so we can get some real money and make a real difference for the community as a whole.”

Football, rugby, cricket teams or anywhere with a playing filed can apply for a grant.

Through Protecting Playing Fields, communities will be able to enhance local playing fields, or create new sports pitches. It is all part of the Places People Play mass participation legacy programme of participation after the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games.

Sport England will run five £2 million Protecting Playing Fields funding rounds over the next three years.

Between £20,000 and £50,000 will be invested in hundreds of projects that will create, improve and protect playing fields by bringing disused playing fields back into use, improving the condition of pitches (e.g. levelling, drainage, re-seeding), buying new playing field land (not less than 0.2 hectares) and buying existing playing field land where there is a known threat, such as the expiry of a lease or development proposal.

The scheme is open to charities, community and voluntary associations, local authorities and educational institutions.

Every playing field supported by this fund will also be protected from developers for at least 25 years, creating an enduring benefit for sport.

Sport England’s Chair, Richard Lewis, said: “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 the community.”

Applications for round one of Protecting Playing Fields will be accepted via Sport England’s website by July 6 2011. Anyone interested in applying should visit sportengland.org /funding for more details or call 08458 508 508.