A NORTH-EAST rugby club has been awarded a £50,000 grant to boost its facilities and encourage grassroots participation.

Darlington Mowden Park Rugby Club, based at The Northern Echo Arena, has been given £50,000 by Sport England as part of a national project to improve community sports facilities.

The funds from The Inspired Facilities Fund aim to upgrade facilities that can be unattractive, expensive to run and difficult to maintain and to convert existing non-sporting buildings into venues that are suitable for grassroots sport.

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The club will use the award to install four new changing rooms into the 27,000 seat Northern Echo Arena.

Since moving into the arena in 2012, the club has purchased and developed derelict land nearby into new playing facilities to allow people of all ages to get involved with the sport.

The club has now completed the development of three new senior pitches; flood lights will cover two of these three pitches.

The Sport England funding will allow Mowden Park to support all club teams as well as hold local community events and competitions.

Lee Rust, the club’s commercial director, said: “We are delighted that Sport England have approved the funding to support the additional changing room development work.

“We already have more than 20 teams based at Mowden Park, which seems to be home to an ever increasing number of players.

“We are also working hard with both the council Sports Development Team and key partners to open up The Northern Echo Arena to schools and competition activity across the region. Our aim is to make it a flagship hub for the town and the North East. Funding like the changing room grant is greatly helping us on that journey.”

An additional £20m of grassroots funding has been made available to community and voluntary organisations, councils and schools, which can bid for funding to make their facilities more accessible.

For more information visit sportengland.org/inspiredfacilities Mowden Park Rugby Club will play its final game of the season in the SSE National League 2 North at the Northern Echo Arena on Saturday, April 26, against league leaders Macclesfield.

Mowden Park, who are third in the league with two games to go, play away at Sheffield Tigers tomorrow (Saturday, April 19).

For ticket information visit mowdenpark.com