• £40 million National Lottery funding announced to extend Inspired Facilities fund
  • 321 sports projects share £16.2 million to improve their local facilities in latest funding round

In a major boost to grassroots sports clubs, Sport England has announced £40 million to extend its hugely popular Inspired Facilities Olympic and Paralympic legacy fund to 2017.

The National Lottery boost comes on the anniversary of the Olympic closing ceremony as 321 sports projects celebrate winning a share of £16,225,446. The latest investments will bring big improvements to local facilities, from new playing surfaces to floodlights and better changing rooms.

The 321 successful bidders include:

  • Warrington Gymnastics Club which will use £50,000 to move into and install kit at a new facility in the town
  • Birmingham City Clubs for Young People which will use £50,000 to expand a popular boxing gym and put in female changing rooms
  • Sheffield FC Futsal which has been awarded £48,299 to buy a portable futsal floor and create a high quality home for futsal in Sheffield.

Today’s announcement means that 1,361 grassroots sports facilities have now benefitted in the two years since Inspired Facilities was launched, with a total of £69.9 million invested. This week many of those facilities are offering free sports sessions to local people to celebrate the National Lottery backing they’ve received from Sport England.

Sport England’s Chair, Nick Bitel, was today joining London 2012 Trampoline Gymnast Kat Driscoll at a gymnastics club in Milton Keynes that has been transformed by investment from Inspired Facilities. MK Springers used a £50,000 lottery award to create a modern grassroots gymnastic facility at a former warehouse that is fully accessible to disabled and non-disabled people.

Nick Bitel said: “A year on from the Olympics, it’s inspiring to see how our investment is transforming sporting facilities in hundreds of communities. The great news for sports clubs across the country is that we’re putting an extra £40 million into Inspired Facilities so many more projects will benefit in the coming years.”

Felicity Candler-O’Donnell from MK Springers said: “Our membership is up 50 per cent since we made the improvements. Many more people in Milton Keynes are now enjoying gymnastics thanks to the National Lottery and Sport England.”

Olympian Kat Driscoll said: “It’s fantastic to see so many local sports facilities, including lots of gymnastics clubs, benefitting from this lottery investment, with even more set to benefit in the future. Good facilities are really important to grassroots sport as they are the places where you can discover just how fun sport can be.”

Minister for Sport Hugh Robertson said: “This £40 million injection of National Lottery funding will be a huge boost to local sports facilities across the country. Coming a year on from hosting the London 2012 Games it demonstrates our commitment to a tangible and long lasting sports legacy. The Inspired Facilities fund has been a massive success and by extending it to 2017 it will help encourage many more people to get involved in community sport.

Bids will be accepted for the next round of Inspired Facilities funding from the 21 October 2013.  You can find out more at: www.sportengland.org/inspiredfacilities.

Ten of the projects that are benefiting disadvantaged young people have been awarded a total of £74,413 in additional funding from the Thomas Cook’s Children’s Charity, Sport England’s partner for Inspired Facilities.

Joanna Wild, Chair of the Thomas Cook Children’s Charity said: “We are extremely pleased to be able to award over £70,000 across ten projects to help improve their facilities as they continue encouraging more children to get involved in sport, who might otherwise not be able to. We continue to be delighted with the number of applications for our grants and the fund, which highlights the amazing work being done by volunteers in sports clubs up and down the country.”