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- 04 June 2014 00:00
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Playing fields across the country continue to be protected and improved thanks to new £3.7 million funding boost from Sport England.
In the latest round of funding from Sport England’s Protecting Playing Fields fund, 63 projects will share the £3.7 million as they receive up to £100,000 each to bring disused playing fields back into use, improve existing sites and create new sports pitches.
Since its launch in 2011, 399 projects have benefited from a total of £22 million of investment over six rounds, with more than 1,000 pitches protected and improved.
"This £3.7 million lottery funding is helping to protect and improve playing fields across the country, giving a better sports experience to thousands,” said Minister for Sport Helen Grant.
"Combined with our on-going work to put down more 3G pitches this will also mean sports fixtures become less victims of the weather and enable play all-year-round.”
Among the projects receiving funding is Handsworth Junior Sporting Club in Sheffield who has been awarded £65,000 to improve the drainage system on their pitches that currently cannot cope when there is heavy rain.
This year the club lost 60 football matches across all age groups due to water-logged pitches cause by the bad weather.
With better drainage the club estimates 40 games would have gone ahead.
The funding will allow the club to install better drainage leading to less games being cancelled and allow them to grow the number of people playing football and cricket at the club.
"The latest round of our Protecting Playing Fields fund continues to make a real difference to community sports clubs up and down the country by supporting one of the most important resources in sport,” said Sport England Property Director Charles Johnston.
"By protecting and improving playing fields in communities across the country, we’re ensuring people and teams have a place to get active and enjoy sport all year round.”
The funding for playing fields improvements comes in addition to Sport England’s special £5 million flood relief fund that is helping restore pitches and repair sports facilities damaged by the exceptional weather earlier in the year.
The fund was specifically created to help with the damage caused by the floods and storms over winter.