£50million fund launch

Hundreds of local sports clubs and facilities in the East Midlands could be upgraded thanks to a £50 million National Lottery fund launched £50by Sport England and the Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson MP.

The Inspired Facilities fund is part of the Places People Play legacy programme that is bringing the magic of a home Olympic and Paralympic Games into communities across the country.

Investment will be available to breathe new life into tired facilities that can be unattractive to sports participants, expensive to run and difficult to maintain, putting these clubs right back at the heart of their local communities. There will also be money available to convert existing buildings into venues that are suitable for grassroots sport.

Interested parties who want to know more about the fund and how they can apply can attend a special workshop being held in Leicester on Monday, August , where Sport England staff will go through the application process.

The programme has been designed to be as simple and accessible as possible for potential applicants, making it attractive to community groups and sports clubs who may not have received public funding before.

Typical investments might be: A sprung floor that converts an unused hall into a local multi-sport facility; new changing rooms, so away teams no longer need to change in the car park; new floodlights that mean a facility can be used for many more hours of the day.

Sport England’s chief executive Jennie Price, said: “I hope many of the groups who benefit from Inspired Facilities will be receiving Lottery funding for the first time. We have worked hard to simplify the application process, with a shorter form and a catalogue of ready-made options to choose from.

“We want people all over the country to be able to look back on 2012 as the year when their local sports facilities got better, as well as the year the Games came to London.”

At least £35 million of the funding will go to community and voluntary organisations, through grants of between £20,000 and £50,000. The remaining money will be open to a wider group of organisations, including councils and schools, with grants of up to £150,000 available.

Hugh Robertson said: “This £50 million fund is a huge boost to community sport. It will transform local sports facilities up and down the country and leave a lasting legacy from London 2012 at a local level.”

Sport England will be running three two-hour information sessions in Leicester on Monday.

Each session is designed for a specific audience: 10:30am - local authorities, education establishments, parish and town councils; 2.30pm - Regional/local national governing body staff and county sports partnerships; 7pm - Community and voluntary groups and sport clubs.

Spaces will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. For more details and to register, visit http://www.sportengland.org