The footballers of Long Bennington and surrounding area will soon enjoy the benefits of improved facilities at their home ground thanks to a £50K grant award from Sport England.
Long Bennington QE2 Playing Field has received the award from the Sport England funding programme “Protecting Playing Fields”, which is part of the Places People Play Olympic legacy.
The grant will enable Long Bennington Football Club(s) to further encourage footballers from the area and introduce more teams at all age groups. It will also mean that fewer games will have to be relocated due to excessive use and lack of availability.
The ambitious project has been headed by the Parish Council, Playing Field Management Committee and Long Bennington Football Club(s) and will see the installation of improved drainage, extensive re-levelling and the creation of a new 9 V 9 pitch on unused areas of the QE2 Playing Field.
Sport England has committed £50K to the scheme with an additional £10K being provided by the Parish Council, Playing Field Management Committee and Long Bennington Football Club(s).
The site is home to Long Bennington Football Club(s) who have teams from Under 6 up to Under 17, a Girls team, a Senior team and a Veterans team. Once the work is completed, the club will be able to satisfy the current demand for pitch use as well as positively recruit additional players to enjoy the improved facilities.
Steve Rowley, Secretary of the Football Club(s) said: “Long Bennington has a thriving football community with over tremendously over the last 20 years due to hard work and investment. However, the current facilities are struggling to cope with the existing demand and this project will take the facilities to a new level. It will also enable us to provide a 9V9 football pitch for our U11 and U12 age groups.180 players involved regularly aged from 5 to 56. The playing surfaces at the QE2 Playing Field have improved
This promises to be a very exciting period for everyone connected with the football club and we are indebted to the support of Sport England, as well as the Parish Council and Playing Field Management Committee.”
Sport England is investing £10 million of National Lottery funding in community sports projects over three years from 2011-2014. Work on the Long Bennington project is likely to commence in March 2014.
Nick Bitel, the Chair of Sport England, said: “If community sports clubs want to attract and retain participants, they need to be able to offer quality facilities for everyone. The improvements to the Long Bennington QE2 Playing Field will be welcomed by regular users and those who are new to football.”