Hampshire Playing Field Fund keeps communities active

An overall investment of £20,768 has been made into sports and physical activities across Hampshire this month with the awarding of grants from the Hampshire Playing Fields Fund.

The grants, which are between £500 and £2,500 were distributed by the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation – the largest grant maker to specialise in awarding grants across Hampshire and Isle of Wight – and were awarded to support outdoor activity, outdoor spaces and games and sports.

Lordsfield Swimming Club (pictured above), based in Overton near Basingstoke, has been awarded £2,500 to develop their volunteer provision. The club offers outdoor swimming activities to local residents and coaching classes for children and is supported by a team of volunteer staff.

Tania Bridge, Trustee of Lordsfield Swimming Club said: “This grant will enable us to run a full programme of sessions in 2022 and train 60 volunteers to support the pool sessions. Utilising volunteers means we can keep our prices low and this enables local families to have equable access – increasing accessibility for all. Open air swimming is an excellent activity for fitness and wellbeing and we look forward to working with residents to keep the community swimming!”

An Isle of Wight project training Islanders in the art of Nordic Pole Walking has been awarded a grant of £1250 to help it expand. Naturezones, on the Red Squirrel Trail, near Blackwater, offers Nordic Pole Walking – a whole body workout that transforms hiking into something a bit more like cross country skiing, using poles to make the body work harder.

Naturezeones’ Angela Hewitt said:

“Our Nordic Pole Walking project is for the over 50’s. Receiving this grant has given us the opportunity to extend our fitness scheme to younger people and at weekends.  Nordic Pole Walking isn’t just a ramble in the countryside – it’s a full body workout using muscles you didn’t know you had!”

Street Reach Winchester, has been awarded £1,785 towards its Friday night football project described as a “positive diversionary activity”. The project, which takes place at Henry Beaufort School, runs for 50 weeks of the year in all weathers and is all-inclusive for both girls and boys who can ‘turn up and play’ for a contribution of just £1. The project takes place on a Friday night “on an evening where anti-social behaviour levels and risk-taking behaviour would typically increase.”

Ben Martin, Project Manager for Street Reach, said: “We average 20 young people each week, with 64 on the register. The young people are positively engaged in an activity which enables them to ‘let off steam’, take part in a physical activity, and enjoy the camaraderie of their peers. As well as the football itself, which promotes a healthier lifestyle and mutual respect, there are youth workers both on and off pitch who can offer targeted support and advice and are able to address issues such as alcohol and drug abuse, including legal highs, relationship issues, anti-social behaviour and keeping safe.

Jacqui Scott, CEO at HIWCF said: “We are delighted to play our part in ensuring sports and organisations involved in sports across Hampshire get the support they need this year. Since the beginning of the Covid crisis, we have all come to appreciate the value of our outdoor spaces and local community recreation areas more than ever, particularly for improving our physical and mental wellbeing.”

“Additionally, sport and physical activity can be an important catalyst to ‘levelling the playing field’ for people of all backgrounds and engaging in sports has so much potential for transformation beyond the physical health improvements.  We are particularly interested in ensuring that this funding benefits people who face disadvantage in their lives – for example people with disabilities of all natures, and those facing mental health issues and social isolation. The Hampshire Playing Fields Fund means we can provide organisations with the means to achieve a better and more sustainable future at the same time as increasing participation by people from a wide range of backgrounds”.

The groups that received Hampshire Playing Field 2022 grant funding are as follows:

Grant Applicant Area
Bashley (Rydal) Cricket Club New Forest
Botley Centre Short Mat Bowls Club Southampton
Brading Town Youth Football Club IOW
Grayshott Cricket Club Grayshott
Gurnard Youth Football Club IOW
Hamble Valley u3a Hamble Valley
Handy Trust – also won CB funding – MM doing their own release Southampton
Lordsfield Swimming Club Basingstoke
Monty’s Community Hub Southampton
Naturezones Wildlife Education Trust IOW
New Forest Mencap New Forest
Oarsome Chance Foundation Gosport
Street Reach Winchester
Urbond C.I.C Portsmouth
Vision 4 Youth (C/O The Council Office) Yately