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Be part of the 2012 legacy by improving and protecting your local playing fields

Be part of the 2012 legacy by improving and protecting your local playing fields

Hundreds of sports playing fields across the country will be protected and improved thanks to a £10 million National Lottery fund launched today by Sport England and the Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson MP.

Through Protecting Playing Fields, communities will be able to enhance local playing fields, or create new sports pitches. As part of the Places People Play mass participation legacy programme, the fund will help bring to life the inspiration and magic of a home Olympic and Paralympic Games for communities all over 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."

Hugh 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 will run five £2 million Protecting Playing Fields funding rounds over the next three years. We will invest between £20,000 and £50,000 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, reseeding)
  • Buying new playing field land (not less than 0.2 hectares)
  • Buying existing playing field land where there is a known threat, such as the expiry of a lease or a development proposal.

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 has also entered into a partnership with Fields in Trust (FIT) to support 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 Fields in Trust said: "Playing fields are the building blocks of sport and play and our goal through the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge is to ensure that the future of these spaces is permanently protected. Our partnership with Sport England is a great opportunity to create a legacy from 2012 that brings real benefit to our playing fields and communities."

Protecting Playing Fields builds on the work Sport England already does to safeguard playing fields as a statutory consultee on all planning applications affecting a sports playing field. Playing fields are one of the most important resources for sport in England. There are over 59,200 playing pitches at 19,236 sites in England and over half of the grass pitches (33,200) are marked out for football. 

Applications for round one of Protecting Playing Fields will be accepted via Sport England's website between 25 May 2011 and 6 July 2011. Anyone interested in applying should visit /funding for more details or call 08458 508 508. Sport England will also be running workshops in four cities to help potential applicants

Birmingham 16 May (10:30 - 13:00 & 13:30 - 16:30)
Bristol 17 May (10:30 - 13:00 & 13:30 - 16:30)
Manchester 19 May (10:30 - 13:00 & 13:30 - 16:30)
London 23 May (10:30 - 13:00 & 13:30 - 16:30)
For more details of these events and to register attendance, please email