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Hemsby soccer cash windfall

PUBLISHED: 09:01 11 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:29 03 July 2010

THE next generation of Wayne Rooneys and David Beckhams could be kicking off their sporting careers in a Norfolk village after it was revealed yesterday that Hemsby would receive £527,000 of soccer funding.

THE next generation of Wayne Rooneys and David Beckhams could be kicking off their sporting careers in a Norfolk village after it was revealed yesterday that Hemsby would receive £527,000 of soccer funding.

And youngsters in the village near Yarmouth may also benefit from another announcement, made last night, that the government is speeding up funding for play facilities across England.

Hemsby Parish Council's four-year goal to set up football pitches and changing rooms was given a generous shot in the arm by the Football Foundation and the government.

The Hemsby grants will be used to help build one full-size, two junior and five mini-soccer pitches and two official changing rooms on the Water's Lane Playing Field.

And budding Premiership footballers will also receive advice from an on-site football development officer.

In a separate boost for all football- mad children across East Anglia, it was also announced that the government would speed up funding to improve and provide play areas across the region.

Children's secretary Ed Balls said that all local authorities would be able to access a pot of more than £100m by April to improve play areas. Norfolk and Suffolk will receive £1.1m each.

Originally the government had planned to release the funding by 2011 but speeded up the process to boost its public building programme.

A ministerial survey also showed that youngsters desperately needed more play facilities.

As well as the soccer pitches, Hemsby Parish Council hopes that the wider community will use the improved facilities on its playing field site, including a new social area and kitchen. A cricket pitch will also be created on the 7.64 acre-fields.

The parish council has been trying for four years to set up the playing field and in February it was given permission by Yarmouth Borough Council to set up the pitches and changing rooms.

Yesterday's Hemsby funding announcement comprised £327,044 from the Football Foundation charity and £200,526 from the government's community club development programme.

Lyndon Bevan, parish council chairman, said: “This is a massive step forward for the community of Hemsby. We are delighted that we are going to be able to provide such fantastic facilities - not only for local young people but for the whole village.”

Under its national play strategy, the government is investing £235m in improving 3,500 play areas nationally and building 30 new adventure playgrounds in England.

Mr Balls said: “We know that outdoor play has many benefits to children.

“Parents tell us that it is key to a happy and enjoyable childhood. “By rolling out our programme more quickly, we can get better facilities and support the economy at the same time.”

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