asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the recent visit by the Under-Secretary of State with responsibility for sport to Liverpool.
I visited Liverpool on Monday, 29 March to fulfil a promise made during my last visit on 15 January, to follow up progress on the sport and recreation element of the Government's special assistance for Merseyside. This assistance involved an undertaking to match pound for pound, up to £1 million, donations from the private and voluntary sectors for the provision of recreation facilities in Merseyside.During my visit, I was able to announce the following donations and projects:En-tout-cas Ltd. is donating £20,000–£40,000 when matched—for provision of one of its all-weather playing surfaces as a kick-about area. This will be sited in Liverpool city and should be in place by the end of May this year.£3,000 has been donated by the Liverpool Sportsmen Association, the Ford of Britain Trust, and the John Moores Family Foundation—matched to produce £6,000—and will be used to provide sports equipment for 69 clubs with some 7,000 members through the Merseyside Youth Association. I presented the equipment to the clubs from all over Merseyside, at the Vernon Sangster sports centre.The National and Merseyside Playing Fields Association is donating £20,000—matched to produce £40,000—to be used for improvements to a number of play areas and youth clubs.The Toxteth Team Ministry is providing £2,000—matched to produce £4,000—to provide a minibus to transport sports teams.£10,000 will go towards improvements of the Liverpool water adventure centre.The Boundary Road sports hall in St. Helens will be extended at a cost of some £300,000, £150,000 of which was donated by the Pilkington Trust;A kick-about area is to be installed at the St. George of England school in Bootle at a cost of £20,000. £10,000 comes from the Sefton lottery.Improvements will be made to the Chain Lane community centre in St. Helens, at a cost of £62,000. The St. Helens lottery is giving £31,000.The North-West Federation for Sport, Recreation and Conservation is giving £250, yet to be allocated. Three more schemes are in the pipeline:Discussions are under way aimed at ensuring the continuation of Liverpool ice rink. There have been some difficulties with this project but I am confident that these can be overcome.
En-tout-cas has offered £100,000 for an artificial grass soccer pitch in Toxteth. Detailed discussions are taking place with a second sponsor to raise a further £55,000.
The refurbishment of the BICC sports hall at Prescott which BICC has offered—valued at £175,000.
In addition to projects under the pound for pound scheme, the Sports Council has offered a low cost—£400,000—experimental design sports hall to Liverpool city council. The council is considering various possible sites for this facility.
Finally, I am hopeful that £80,000 could be found from the inner city partnership to complete by the end of the year the Stebble Street gymnastics centre.
If all of the schemes in the pipeline reach fruition the £1 million will be matched.