Football in County Durham has received a significant boost thanks to a grant worth £78,273.

The Football Foundation – the country’s largest sports charity – has confirmed the funding for Durham County Council’s Meadowfield Leisure Centre.

The funding is being used to refurbish the existing artificial sports pitch next to the centre and install a new pitch using the latest high-tech surface.

The new pitch will be suitable for full 11-a-side games or could be divided to create three separate pitches for smaller teams.

The improved facilities will offer better training and playing opportunities for those involved in Durham County Council’s On The Ball activities, local sports clubs and the wider community.

Cllr Maria Plews, Cabinet member with responsibility for sport and leisure services at Durham County Council, said: “We are delighted with the support we have received from the Football Foundation.

“This funding will allow us to develop a first-class facility through which we will be able to deliver a wider and better quality programme of activities.”

Paul Thorogood, chief executive of the Football Foundation, said: “I commend Durham County Council and the Durham Football Association for securing this funding and I look forward to seeing the end result in the near future.

“This year is an exciting time for sport in this country and a tremendous opportunity to create a grassroots legacy.”

Work on the new pitch is now almost complete, and is expected to be completed next month (Oct).