Village sport’s Olympic boost

Mark Reed, left and Paul Hayhurst survey the fence around the Multi-Use Games Area, which has received �22,000 from Sport England.

Mark Reed, left and Paul Hayhurst survey the fence around the Multi-Use Games Area, which has received �22,000 from Sport England.

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A GAMES area forced to close because of broken fencing last year has been given a new lease of life thanks to Olympic legacy funding.

Elswick Parish Council was handed a cash boost of £22,388 to replace the rotten and dangerous fencing around its Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) and refurbish its surface.

The funding was awarded by the Inspired Facilities programme by Sport England Lottery – part of the Places People Play Olympic and Paralympic legacy programme.

Coun Paul Hayhurst, who helped apply for the funding, said: “Everyone is delighted.

“This is the only MUGA in the area, and in a five-mile radius, and now we can reopen for netball, tennis and introduce basketball.

“This is brilliant, exciting news.”

Now the funding has been approved, Coun Hayhurst said he hoped the it would be open again in spring.

The MUGA, on Roseacre Road, one of 12 sports facilities in Lancashire to get the funding, was forced to close in October after an inspection by Fylde Council found it was in a dangerous state.

Coun Hayhurst added: “While it was OK for tennis during the summer, it was dangerous for impact games like five-a-side football where people would be banging into the side. It had to close.”

“With no other facilities like it, we were depending on the grant in order to reopen the MUGA. We had to let a lot of people down in the meantime.”

Coun Hayhurst said an article in The Gazette about the closure of the MUGA formed part of the funding application to Sport England.

He added: “The Gazette helped our bid, and we are grateful for that.”

Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “This is great news for the people of Elswick and reflects the continued hard work of the parish council. I offer them my full support and greatly look forward to seeing the work completed.”

Sport England chairman Richard Lewis added: “This National Lottery investment is helping us deliver a lasting sporting legacy in Lancashire from last year’s successful Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“With so many clubs in the North West having benefitted from this fund already and building on the success of last summer, this is the legacy people want for their local community.”

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