By Gary Anderson

August 12 - INSPIRED FacilitiesSport England has marked the first anniversary of the Closing Ceremony of London 2012 by announcing a further £40 million ($62 million/€47 million) of National Lottery funding will be available to extend its Inspired Facilities Olympic and Paralympic legacy fund through until 2017.

The funds will be invested during between 2014 and 2017.

The latest investments aim to bring improvements to local facilities, from new playing surfaces to floodlights and better changing rooms and will see 321 sports projects share £16.2 million ($25 million/€19 million) to enhance sports provision in local areas.

As a result of this latest funding announcement, a total of 1,361 grassroots sports facilities have now benefited in the two years since the launch of Inspired Facilities, which has seen a total of £69.9 million ($108 million/€81 million) invested and to celebrate many of those facilities are offering free sports sessions to local people this week.

"A year on from the Olympics, it's inspiring to see how our investment is transforming sporting facilities in hundreds of communities," said Nick Bitel, chairman of Sport England.

"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."

The programme allows local sports clubs to apply for funding through the Sport England website.

Clubs can apply for financial assistance under five categories including building modernisation, outdoor sports lighting, outdoor sports surfaces, community club buildings and sports equipment.

"This £40 million injection of National Lottery funding will be a huge boost to local sports facilities across the country," said Britain's Sports Minister Hugh Robertson.

"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."

MK Springers gymnastics club in Milton Keynes received a 50000 grant from the Inspired Facilities programmeMK Springers gymnastics club in Milton Keynes received a £50,000 grant from the Inspired Facilities programme

One of the projects to benefit from funding is MK Springers gymnastics club in Milton Keynes used a £50,000 ($78,000/€58,000) lottery award to create a modern grassroots gymnastic facility at a former warehouse that is fully accessible to disabled and non-disabled people.

"Our membership is up 50 per cent since we made the improvements," said Felicity Candler-O'Donnell from MK Springers.

"Many more people in Milton Keynes are now enjoying gymnastics thanks to the National Lottery and Sport England."

"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," said recently crowned World Games synchronised trampoline champion Kat Driscoll.

"Good facilities are really important to grassroots sport as they are the places where you can discover just how fun sport can be."

Other successful bidders include another gymnastics club in Warrington 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 ($78,000/€58,000) to expand a popular boxing gym and put in female changing rooms; and Sheffield FC Futsal which has been awarded £48,299 ($75,000/€56,000) to buy a portable futsal floor and create a high quality home for the sport in the city.
Sheffield FutsalSheffield Football Club's futsal team is set to benefit from the new Sport England funding after they were awarded more than £48,000 to buy a portable futsal floor
Ten of the projects that are benefiting disadvantaged young people have been awarded a total of £74,413 ($115,000/€87,000) 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."

The next round of bidding for funding is due to open on October 21, 2013,and will come out of the existing budget.

For more information about to apply for a grant click here

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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Sport England ploughs further £16.6 million into grassroots clubs as part of London 2012 legacy
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October 2011: Sport England put £10 million up for grabs to grass roots sport