AN Abingdon school will get new sports facilities thanks to a £44,000 grant from the Armed Forces.

After applying for a grant from the Armed Forces Community Covenant fund, Larkmead School will use the money to invest in a planned £80,000 scheme over the summer holidays.

Once work is completed, the facilities for tennis, netball and basketball will be open to the school and the public.

School spokesman Marilyn Pearce said: “As we take on a lot of services children we sought approval for these plans from the Army centre, as well as the Oxfordshire Sports Partnership and community groups in our area.

“We are also hoping to hold youth club challenges.

“Originally we were just looking at doing some resurfacing, but with this grant we can do much more.”

The Armed Forces Community Covenant fund was established to encourage local people to support the Armed Forces community in their area and promote understanding between the groups.

It is funded by the Ministry of Defence but administered by local branches, such as the Oxfordshire Community Covenant.

The new sports facilities at Larkmead School, in Faringdon Road, are due to be built over the summer and completed in September.

Ms Pearce added: “Our bid was based on the fact sport breaks down barriers and is a well-known tool for bringing people together.”

Besides the £44,000 the school received from the Armed Forces, it has also been given £3,000 from Oxfordshire County Council and £3,000 from Lloyds Bank. The school will find the remaining £30,000.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “The games area at Larkmead School is an excellent project which embodies the aims of the Community Covenant by bringing together children from the Armed Forces with the local population.

“The planned events and family days will encourage the two communities to learn about each other and give the people of Abingdon an insight into the lives and challenges faced by the Armed Forces.”

A spokesman for the Oxfordshire Community Covenant was asked for comment but the Oxford Mail received no response.