SPORTING clubs across Sussex are among 91 beneficiaries looking forward to making the most of a £6,039,499 National Lottery funding boost.
Projects from every region in the country are eagerly anticipating their share of the Sport England funding, which will go towards building up and maintaining sports clubs and groups that are helping people to stay active.
Grassroots sport can be overshadowed by world cups or elite championships – but local clubs and projects impact thousands of people every day, and are often the cornerstone of their community.
A new clubhouse or state-of-the-art equipment can make all difference to a team’s survival – and could even be the springboard that attracts the next Jessica Ennis Hill or David Beckham to sport.
More importantly, local clubs and groups are often the first port of call for people new to sport, as well as those already enjoying grassroots activities - and are therefore invaluable when it Comes to keeping the country active.
That’s why Sport England has given a cash boost to 91 of the most in-need clubs across the country as part of its popular Inspired Facilities scheme – which to date has invested £102million in 1,920 projects.
Schemes in Bosham, petworth, Littlehampton, Goring and Eastbourne are among those to benefit.
Around 10 per cent of groups that previously benefitted from grants said without the money, they would have been forced to close. Half said they would have lost members without the investment.
While many of the clubs will use the money from this round of funding for vital repairs, maintenance and upgrading equipment – which they would not otherwise be able to afford – some of the more eye-catching projects include transforming a disused brickworks in Cambridge into a gymnastics academy and saving a local swimming pool from closure.
Sport England Property Director Charles Johnston said: “The Inspired Facilities fund has had a huge impact on grassroots sport across the country. Since 2011, we’ve invested £102 million into more than 1,920 projects to improve and refurbish sports clubs and transform non-sporting venues into vibrant community sports clubs.
“It’s great to see these latest projects join the long list of successful clubs to benefit from National Lottery funding.”
Inspired Facilities was launched in 2011 and is Sport England’s £110 million programme to help fund the renovation and modernisation of local sports facilities.
To date we have helped over 1,800 projects to improve and refurbish sports clubs or transform non-sporting venues into modern grassroots sport facilities – whether it is a club, local authority, school or parish council.
Following a review of previous rounds, changes are being made to all funding rounds from Round 9 onwards. The changes to the programme are to ensure as many local sports facilities as possible benefit from the funding.
Projects in the South East of England include:
West Sussex County Council - The area needs more sports facilities to keep the community active. This project will particularly engage women and girls through dance, who are underserved when it comes to fun and engaging local physical activity.
Sellindge & District Bowls Club - The club hopes the green and ditch refurbishment work will encourage new members to join and eventually create a more diverse membership age range.
Gillingham Anchorians Sports Facility Ltd - The Anchorians Association (made up of three clubs – rugby, football and hockey) will use the money to pay for a new pitch surface. It will then be able to work with local infant schools and offer walking football for the over 50s.
Petworth House Tennis Court Ltd - Before securing the proposed extension, the club was having great difficulty in attracting women members. It will now be able to offer sport to more juniors, people with a disability and local schools.
Chipping Norton Bowls Club - The population of older people in the area is above average, which is why suitable sports clubs for that age group need to be kept up-to-date, according to the club. A recent fall by a member and lack of space for spectators highlighted to the club that it needed to make some to broken or unsafe areas if it was to continue as a success.
Bosham Sailing Club Limited - The Club is the oldest sailing club in Chichester Harbour and, like all other clubs in the Harbour and elsewhere, was badly affected by the financial downturn. Membership declined from around 1800 to 1250. Without the money to pay for modernised changing rooms, the club was fearful it would not be able to attract new members again.
Eastbourne ABC - The gym is located in a deprived area, but has been praised by Eastbourne Police for helped to bring the crime rate down. The club hopes to replicate this in its new location. The Eastbourne ABC will also use the money to provide boxing training for those with a disability.
London Youth - The pool is 35 years old, deteriorating rapidly, and was facing imminent closure until the funding success. Hindleap Warren Outdoor Education Centre in East Sussex supports 10,000 young people to participate in adventurous activities every year.
Queen Mary Sailing Club Limited - The money will pay for improved access to the reservoir, which will enabled more sailors with a disability to take part at the club.
Goring Gap Boat Club - A home at last! For the past twenty years, Goring Gap Boat Club has had to operate out of shared or temporary facilities - and has been forced to move location on four separate occasions. The club will need to move again from its current location at the end of 2015. Funding from Sport England will enable a permanent boathouse to be built.
Minster Parish Council - The Parish Council will use the cash to build a new games area on land that recently became available as part of a housing development. It will offer sports including netball, basketball, volleyball, hockey, handball and football.
Petersfield Cricket Club - Members are looking forward to an upgrade of the changing rooms – as until now their modesty has been under threat. The shower is visible by users of both changing rooms, the only facility for women is an upstairs toilet, there are no facilities for those with disabilities and access to the bar is through a changing room.
Rye Harbour Sailing Club - The club has done well to increase its membership, but facilities have fallen well behind the necessary standards (toilets were built in the 1960s). The money will pay for the modernisation of the changing rooms.
Moulscoombe Amateur Boxing Association - The cash will allow the club to promote offender rehabilitation and restorative justice programmes with Sussex Police, as well as boost its membership, particularly for women, by building an extension to create more space.
Meopham Table Tennis Club - Meopham Table Tennis Club provides a playing venue for around 80 members and a local school. It is used most days and evenings. Without funding the club faced closure because it could not afford to pay for repairs to the roof and walls.
Westbrook Bowls Club - The club hopes the refurbished facilities – new changing rooms for youth and visiting ladies’ and men’s teams - will help them in their quest for younger members and to encourage more women to take part in bowls.
Littlehampton Cricket Club - The club was built in 1897 and has remained largely unchanged since then. There are to be 3,000 new homes built in the town over the next 10 years and the club hopes to keep up with demand. It will also use the cash to become more accessible for disabled members and spectators.
Shipton under Wychwood Cricket Club - The club has been a huge success and managed to boost its membership substantially over the years. However, it needs to accommodate its growing numbers – in particular women’s and junior sections – by improving the quality of practice equipment. Villagers have all come together to raise funds.
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