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Local MP and Bampton resident Rory Stewart is "over the moon" to welcome the news that people of all ages in Bampton and the surrounding area will now be able to look forward to decades of high-quality sport after announcements that the Bampton Recreation Field Group has secured £20,500 from Sport England’s Protecting Playing Fields Olympic legacy fund.
The Project will fund the purchase of the local recreation field from Carlisle Diocese (who currently lease the field to the village) as well as some improvement work to the field. This will secure the recreation field for the community for decades to come. This means more football, rounders, cricket, volleyball and any other sports that local people wish to try out.
Rory Stewart said: "Bampton and the Bampton Recreation Field Group thoroughly deserves this excellent result, and I congratulate all involved in successfully bidding for this substantial sum. The recreation field is at the very heart of the local community, and proves yet again that the residents of Bampton and the surrounding area are extremely capable when it comes to successfully pursuing funds for the improvement of our community initiatives here. I very much look forward to visiting the improved field in due course, and consider myself very lucky to live in such a special place."
The announcement came as Sport England invited more local groups to bring the 2012 legacy to life in their area by bidding for support for a local playing field through the second £2 million round of Protecting Playing Fields. In round one, over £2 million has been offered to sports clubs and local groups to bring disused playing fields back into use, improve existing sites or create new sports pitches. Protecting Playing Fields is part of the Places People Play legacy programme to bring the inspiration and magic of a home Olympic and Paralympic Games into communities all over the country.
Peter Noble, Chair of Bampton Recreation Field Group which is putting £500 into the project said: “We are delighted that we can now purchase and improve the recreation field as it is the only one in the local area and it means that residents will have the opportunity to enjoy sport in the village for years to come.”
Sport England’s Chair, Richard Lewis, said: “This playing field will be a lasting sporting legacy beyond the 2012 Games for Bampton area where generations will enjoy their first experience of sport.”
The playing field will also become a Queen Elizabeth II Field after agreeing to dedicate their playing field in “perpetuity”. This is thanks to a partnership with Fields in Trust (FIT) which is running the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge 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: “This fantastic investment into grassroots facilities in England will help to ensure that neighbourhoods can participate in sporting activities at all levels for years to come. We are delighted to see that this playing field will also be protected in perpetuity as part of the permanent legacy that the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge will create in tribute to the Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 Olympics.”
By simplifying the application process and reducing the technical expertise required to bid, Sport England has opened up this funding to groups that haven’t previously received public money. Almost half the successful bidders (23) were first-time applicants. 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.