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Makeover for Durham University sports facilities

Sport England is using the fund to help secure a lasting sporting legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by supporting modern community sports facilities, delivered through long-term partnerships.

The project, Sporting Futures, will include an indoor rowing tank, a world-class fencing piste, indoor cricket nets, and a performance analysis suite. There will also be new facilities for use by athletes with disabilities, and a new-look, extended sports hall and changing rooms. The redevelopment is set to be completed by October 2010.

The developments will not only benefit Durham’s students, 90.2% of whom take part in sport, but will also mean the expansion of the University’s community outreach work, helping thousands of people across the North East.

The community schemes, which last academic year were assisted by over 175 student volunteers, use sport to tackle social problems and raise aspirations. Through football and multi-sport activities, the University’s 15 weekly projects reach ex-offenders, women at risk, the homeless and people recovering from substance misuse issues, as well as fostered and looked after children’s groups and local school children.

At the moment the sports facilities reach maximum capacity during outreach sessions. A bigger sports hall, extended changing rooms and new facilities will enable the University to offer more opportunities to more people.

Durham University, with its world-class reputation in sport, is consistently ranked as one of the UK’s top 6 sporting universities, with 25 students representing their country at Under 20 Level and beyond in 2009.

The University’s philosophy in sport, ‘allowing exceptional people to do exceptional things’, is seen in the many international athletes who have come out of Durham University, including Andrew Strauss, Will Carling and Jonathan Edwards. Durham alumni are also recognised in a number of other areas of sport, including Gabby Logan, BBC Sports presenter, and Dr Paul Hawkins, inventor of Hawkeye.

Assistant Director of Community Outreach, Emma Hall-Craggs, said: “The University has invested heavily in its staff to deliver its three strategic strands of high performance, participation and outreach.

“This long awaited redevelopment will enable us to match this expertise with world class facilities, the combination of the two resulting in a lasting legacy for 2012.”

Sporting Futures was up against stiff competition for funding from the £10 million fund after Sport England received 69 applications. Seven projects from across the country have been offered investment following a robust assessment process, with four others invited to further develop their bids.

Sport England’s Property Director, Charles Johnston, said: “Sporting Futures will bring high-quality sporting opportunities to thousands of local people, university students and staff and help us deliver a lasting Olympic and Paralympic legacy of increased participation.

“These facilities will also provide a high-performance environment perfect for nurturing a new generation of sport stars to follow in the footsteps of previous Durham alumni such as Andrew Strauss and Jonathan Edwards.”

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