Norfolk Athletics Club wins 'Best Athletics Project' at Fields In Trust Awards

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Harling Athletics Club in Norfolk has been recognised at the Fields in Trust Awards for their work increasing participation in the sport. East Harling Recreation Ground was named as having the Best Athletics Project on a Fields in Trust Site at a ceremony at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London.

The Best Athletics Project award is supported by England Athletics and parkrun and celebrates those who help the community get involved in running and athletics activities on their local green spaces.

Harling Athletics Club has grown from a handful of members in 2014 when it was founded to an England Athletics affiliated club which now has more than 170 members. The club caters for athletes of all ages but especially young people, with 70% of the Club’s members aged between six and fifteen. In addition to training sessions and competition in the East Anglian League, the Club has a full calendar of social events including a presentation evening, all supported by a team of volunteers.

Harling Athletics Club is recognised by local residents as a place for bringing children, young people and families together through supporting fitness and outdoor activities and also encouraging community spirit. Following rapid growth over the last two years it has ambitious plans to develop the site by building a world-class sports park for the community.

Speaking after receiving the Award at the Ceremony at Lord’s Cricket Ground, Ron Marsh founder of Harling Athletics Club said: “What a night to remember who would have thought that our little village in Norfolk would win such a prestige award. When I set up this club with only a handful of children, I presented our Parish Council with my project and was backed all the way. Three years later I was introduced to Fields in Trust which bull nosed my project forward. Harling A.C. has a very bright future with this perfect partnership with Field in Trust.”

Chris Jones, Chief Executive of England Athletics said: “I’d like to congratulate Harling Athletics Club on their success, both in winning this award and in all the activities they have provided for the community since being formed in 2014. Our sport is based on the tremendous contributions made by volunteers. It has been great to hear how their work at the green space at East Harling Recreation Ground has developed to offer such a range of activities.  With the IAAF and IPC World Championships coming to London in 2017 we anticipate even more interest in athletics and running, the work done by people such as the volunteers at Harling Athletics Club and the way they use local amenities are fundamental to inspiring and supporting people to have a long-term involvement in the sport.”

parkrun Chief Executive Nick Pearson said: “Congratulations to Harling Athletics Club for making significant strides towards boosting the number of people taking part in athletics, particularly those in younger age groups. Showing children that running can be fun as well as good for them is a vital first step towards physical activity becoming a lifelong habit.”

Fields in Trust Chief Executive, Helen Griffiths, said: “Fields in Trust sites across the UK are home to a myriad of sporting activities every day of the week, and so it is only right that we recognise the work being done to increase participation in athletics with this new award.  The Fields in Trust Awards help recognise the role that parks and other green spaces play in our communities, bringing people together and creating a safe outdoor environment that everyone should have access to no matter where they live. We believe that as a nation it is time to revalue these green spaces and consider the positive impact they have on our physical, mental and social health and well being and the savings to the public purse they represent in terms of preventative medicine.  Congratulations to East Harling Recreation Ground on their Award and thank you to England Athletics and parkrun for their support for this new award.”

Also shortlisted for the Best Athletics Project on a Fields in Trust Site Award supported by England Athletics and parkrun were Hilly Fields in Essex and Witton Park in Lancashire.

Best Athletics Project on a Fields in Trust Site was one of ten Awards given out at the Awards Ceremony. Rouken Glen Park in East Renfrewshire was named UK’s Best Park, as voted by YOU! 2016 following a public vote which saw over 10,000 votes cast for more than 200 local green spaces nominated by their users. Other Awards included Fields in Trust Community Champion, Fields in Trust Young Champion, supported by Groundwork and Most Improved Fields in Trust Site.

The Fields in Trust Awards, now in their fifth year, are a celebration of the achievements of individuals and organisations who have worked over the last year to ensure that everyone has access to protected outdoor recreational space.

Fields in Trust is a national charity whose mission is to ensure that everyone – young or old, able-bodied or disabled and wherever they live – should have access to free, local outdoor space for sport, play and recreation. For more information see

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