A SCHOOLS' football tournament took place yesterday to open a £50,000 games court in the heart of a town.

The multi-purpose area, in Ayresome Gardens, Middlesbrough, is designed as a safe and accessible facility for a range of sports, including basketball and football.

To mark its launch, seven primary schools took part in the Single Regeneration Budget Cup, named after the Government scheme that funded it.

From today, the facility will be available for use by the whole community, with further events planned for the future.

Council leader and ward councillor Ken Walker, who was there for the match kick-off, said: "Ayresome Gardens is a patch of green in the heart of Middlesbrough and is much valued by residents.

"These improvements will help them make the most of a facility on their doorstep. I'm particularly pleased that, through SRB, we are providing a place for young people to get out and enjoy themselves safely."

Over the past two years, a £200,000 package of environmental improvements has been taking place in the gardens and nearby Ayresome School.

A new play area, footpaths, lighting and security cameras have been provided.