Laura Trott is the Conservative Member of Parliament for Sevenoaks & Swanley and was first elected in December 2019. She is here to help the community, regardless of how you voted, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“In my last column, I spoke about the need to protect grassroots sport clubs – and I am delighted to report back that the Chancellor of the Exchequer listened and presented an Autumn Budget focused on recovery and support for our much-loved sports clubs, venues, and outdoor spaces. Funding included:
• £200 million to build and transform over 8,000 community football pitches
• £22 million for the refurbishment of more than 4,500 tennis courts
• £9 million to deliver over 100 new green spaces across the UK
• A one year 50 per cent business rates discount for retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors
• £560 million investment in our youth including a promise for many new and refurbished Youth Centres across the
We are so lucky locally to have many fantastic clubs, however without funding even those with the biggest aspirations and hopes will hit a brick wall. And over the last year we have seen what a difference such funding can make.
Last year, Sevenoaks Football Club was awarded £7,000 by the Premier League to cover the costs of adjustments post lockdown that need to be made to allow for the safe return of players and supporters, and this year the club have been granted planning permission for a new club house, covered stands, changing room facilities and associated landscaping works at Greatness Park. Exciting progress which is testament to the club’s hard work and Paul Lansdale’s dedication to put the future of the club and its community at the heart of everything they do.
The Skate Park at Swanley Recreation Ground was also last month awarded £150,000 by the National Lottery to undertake a major renovation project. It’s so important for our young people to have somewhere to meet up that is safe, and I know many will benefit hugely from this boost to both their mental and physical health. It was clear from my visit last month how welcome the news is to the community, and I hope many more clubs will soon be able to experience similar excitement.
And even the sports facilities in our schools have been able to benefit, with Kent County Council and Sevenoaks District Council investing over £3million. This will see all-weather pitches and MUGA (multi use games areas) built adjacent to Trinity School, Weald of Kent Grammar School and Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys, on the old Wildernesse school site. This will not only benefit the school pupils but also local sports groups, individuals, and children who are visually impaired given the sites previous owners (Royal Society for Blind Children).
The Budget also contained national ambitions to deliver a 44% increase to the UK Sport budget to support Team GB and ParalympicsGB athletes prepare for a successful Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games and funding to bid for the 2030 men’s Football World Cup, Tour de France and Women’s Rugby World Cup, as well as delivering the UEFA Women’s European Championships. I’m very excited at the prospect of bringing more world-class sporting events to the UK. Britain is world-beating in both rugby and cycling and bringing these events home will allow thousands of people to see the next generation of British sporting heroes. I also believe that hosting female sport tournaments would be transformational for the women and girls’ game, not only for inspiring future stars, but also for showcasing the power of women’s sport on the global stage.
If COVID taught us anything, it’s the fundamental role that sport and exercise play in our lives. It’s crucial for our general wellbeing and plays a pivotal role in bringing communities together. I look forward to meeting with more Sports Clubs in the new year, to discuss what further funding is needed – and most importantly, how we can secure it.”