SPORTS pitches across East Lancashire will be improved using funding from the National Lottery.

The money will see more than 100 acres of land and 27 pitches across the north west protected for a minimum of 25 years.

Rishton United has been granted £50,000, Haslingden St Mary’s Community Centre was given £25,564, Brinscall Village Junior Football Club £39,152, and Lancashire County Council £50,000.

Community liaison officer at Rishton United Simon O’Carroll said the club would put the money towards a project at Rishton Playing Fields.

He said: “We are in discussions with Hyndburn Council to lease the land. We want to raise £250,000 to drain the land and make it fit to play on. We have £50,000 now.

“We will get the pitch up to scratch and then raise more money for a garden, playing area, and club house.”

A spokesman for Haslingden St Mary’s Community Centre, which hosts several football teams, including Haslingden St Mary’s FC, said they also planned to improve drainage.

He said: “We have two pitches and one of them is unplayable between October and March. We think this will solve the problem.”

Chairman of Sport England, Nick Bitel, said: “This fund allows us to maintain and protect these spaces so that high-quality sports pitches are available in the heart of communities.”