Suffolk: Trust aims to preserve outdoor sports space using Olympic legacy programme
AS Olympic elation continues to sweep the country, a grassroots legacy programme is working to safeguard Suffolk’s outdoor recreational spaces beyond 2012.
The Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge is offering communities a chance to build a local legacy by ensuring that future generations have access to sport and play.
So far 11 Suffolk landowners have put forward 12 sites for the challenge – a national programme launched by the Fields in Trust (FIT) charity, which acts as guarantor between any landowner and any potential future development to safeguard outdoor recreational spaces.
But Suffolk is lagging behind neighbours Norfolk, where 70 sites have been registered, and Essex, where 59 sites are already enlisted.
All kinds of sites are eligible to become Queen Elizabeth II Fields, but typically measure at least 0.2 hectares.
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Kathryn Cook, challenge partnership and communications manager, said: “Landowners can protect their outdoor recreational space under the challenge, ensuring that it will always be there for future generations to enjoy.
“The challenge is the only grassroots legacy programme from the Olympics, offering communities a unique way to feel engaged with the Olympics and to build a local legacy.”
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Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, who is patron of the challenge, said: “We take it for granted that children like to run and to play games and most people agree that leaving children to be cooped up inside all day is bad for them. If we are serious about that, then we must be serious about preserving the fields and parks on which children can play.
“If parks and fields continue to disappear at the rate at which they have done for the past few decades, many communities will have nowhere for their young people to enjoy.”
More than 1,300 communities across the UK already have a local space protected as part of the challenge.
Challenge candidates include local authorities, town and parish councils, sports clubs and individuals.
Delivery of the legacy programme is supported by Asda and the Asda Foundation.
To find out more, visit www.qe2fields.com/olympics.aspx