OFFICIALS are hoping a £50,000 boost to facilities at a sports ground will lead to the return of junior football in the village.

Members of Evenwood Cricket Club, Evenwood Town FC and the village's parish council collaborated on a successful bid for a grant from Sport England's Inspired Facilities fund to cover the cost of work at the Randolph Social Welfare Ground.

The money will pay for mains electricity to be connected to the changing rooms, hot water showers, new windows and improvements to the outside of the building.

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In addition, repairs will be carried out to the football pitch floodlights and a hard standing area will be created at the entrance to the ground.

There will also be a new secure hut and security fencing.

The successful bid has resulted in the newly-formed Bishop Auckland Ladies football team choosing to base themselves at Evenwood, while Bishop Auckland FC Reserves will play home games on a Sunday morning at the pitch.

The cricket club runs two senior and three junior teams during the summer and Evenwood Town FC will play Crook and District league matches on a Saturday afternoon.

Ronnie Savage, from the cricket club, who was part of the group that worked on the bid, said: “Hopefully, the grant we have got will attract the youngsters back.”

Jackie Cleminson, secretary of Bishop Auckland Ladies FC, said the club, which was only formed in May, was really excited about using Evenwood as its home.

Those involved at Evenwood said they wished to thank Wayne Brown, at Durham County Council, for his help with the bid to Sport England.