HC Deb 16 December 2002 vol 396 cc520-1
5. Mr. Graham Allen (Nottingham, North)

What visits have been made to Nottingham, North constituency by ministers to discuss funding for sport to divert youngsters from crime since 1997. [85573]

The Minister for Sport (Mr. Richard Caborn)

There have been 18 visits by the Department's Ministers to Nottingham, North since 1997 to discuss sport. I shall send my hon. Friend a total list of those 18 visits.

Mr. Allen

I know that the Minister for Sport is aware of the position of the Henry Mellish school, which hopes to come out of special measures and is the last school in the constituency to do so. It has problems in the local area with crime and hopes to divert youngsters from that by getting them involved in sport. Will my right hon. Friend give a fair wind to the new opportunities fund bid for a new £1 million sports hall so that we can use sport to divert those youngsters and youngsters outside school from activities that we do not want to encourage them into? Will he also put a possible opening date in his diary so that he or his right hon. Friend can come up and do the honours?

Mr. Caborn

I would love to give the bid a fair wind, but it is a matter for the new opportunities fund. I understand that congratulations are in order for the Henry Mellish school for passing the first stage of the new opportunities fund application. My hon. Friend knows that it is an arm's-length organisation and that it will make an objective assessment. The bid comes on the back of £750 million of investment in sports facilities through the new opportunities fund. We can all be proud of what the lottery has delivered. Contrary to what we read about school playing fields on the front page of The Guardian this morning, the investment in sports facilities and playing fields is at as high a level as it has been for many years.