203A successful funding bid will see the ongoing regeneration of Seaham Marina further boosted with new sports sessions.

The old North Dock has been completely transformed in recent years to become a stunning focal point in Seaham.

The work has been carried out by Durham County Council and the Victoria Group, joint owners of the new Seaham Harbour Marina Community Interest Company (CIC). In January 2015, the CIC secured £1.744m from the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund to further boost the marina with addition of new water sports facilities as well extra berths and new facilities for boat owners, better access to the beach and environmental improvements.

With a purpose-built water sports activity centre due to be completed in autumn 2016 the marina has received a further boost with the announcement of £149,532 funding from Sport England. Through its Community Sport Activation Fund the money will complement funding from the marina itself to allow the council, working with County Durham Sport and national governing bodies, to deliver a range of sports activities at the new centre – both in the water and on land.

A dedicated Water Sports Development Officer, as well as sessional coaches and instructors, will work with the marina to offer a range of sports and activities at the new centre, and in the wider local area, over the next three years. It is intended that as well as canoeing, sailing and wet and dry rowing, the funding will also see cycling, running, triathlon and orienteering sessions offered. The project will also aim to specifically get 14 to 25 year-olds involved.

Steve Howell, Durham County Council’s head of culture and sport, said: “We’re delighted to have the opportunity to get more people involved in sport and try out what we’re sure will be amazing new facilities at Seaham Marina. The sessions will be fun and easy to pick up so we hope that even people who’ve never thought of getting involved in water sports can come along and try them out.”

Cllr Neil Foster, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration and culture, said: “Seaham Marina has already become a successful and vibrant attraction for residents and tourists alike. The addition of the water sports facility will not only help take the marina to the next level but with funding to get local people involved will provide a boost for the whole area.”

It is hoped that the funding will create a lasting legacy of new community sports clubs, developing a permanent community sports hub at the marina.