A local sports club, whose pavilion was destroyed by fire, is celebrating this week after a £50,000 grant application was approved by Sport England.
Last year, members of the Hightown Club were left devastated when fire swept through their historic clubhouse. But now, with funding in place and planning permission approved back in May, they can look forward to brand new facilities and a new beginning.
The club, which features cricket, tennis, bowls and squash, has had to make do with temporary accommodation since the fire, although it is hoped the new building will be ready by early 2013.
The news has received the backing of Sefton Central MP, Bill Esterson, who said: "This is great news for Hightown Club. The club has been through a lot, but hopefully this grant should see them benefit from brand new facilities so they can continue their long history within this community.
"I know only too well the important work the club does in Hightown and Sefton as a whole in getting people involved in sport.
"I congratulate every single one of them in securing this funding and I look forward to coming along to watch some matches and perhaps even taking part once my leg is healed."
Chris Scrine, president of the Hightown Club, said: "Our very special club has probably been through more in the last 18 months than it has in its 105 year history! This award is the culmination of many hours of hard work, particularly from our rebuild committee led by Alan Verinder and Roger Matthews, as well as the support from Alistair Robertson, Tina Pillkington and Nicola Hedgecock at Sefton Council.
"This is the final piece in the jigsaw and naturally we are all overjoyed with the decision. We are all looking forward to our new facilities, which we envisage will act as a springboard to increase both our membership and wider sports participation in the area," he added.
Sport England’s Chair, Richard Lewis, said: "This National Lottery investment will create a lasting sporting legacy for Sefton.
"The fund has really hit the mark with many sports clubs in the region. It shows we’re offering the legacy that people want for their local community. For hundreds of clubs and tens of thousands of people, 2012 will be the year their local sports facilities got better."
The funding opportunity came via the Sport England 'Inspired Facilities' scheme, which is part of the £135 million Places People Play legacy programme that is bringing the magic of a home Olympic and Paralympic Games into communities across the country. Every sports facility that receives funding will carry the London 2012 Inspire mark – celebrating the link to the Games.
The club's application was based on a desire for an inspiring new facility to encourage and increase sports membership, especially among younger people, within the local area. Sport England awarded the highest possible amount of £50,000 towards the project. The Hightown Club is one of hundreds of projects across England benefiting from lottery investment through the second round of the Inspired Facilities fund. And Sport England today launched a further £10 million funding round to help local community sports groups to upgrade their facilities. You can find out more at www.sportengland.org/inspiredfacilities. Bids will be accepted from 23 July 2012.