SPORTS and community groups have been handed nearly £200,000 to help residents.

Basildon Council has given £198,843 to local causes in its latest round of Community Investment Fund payouts.

Groups to benefit include Langdon Hills Estate Residents’ Association, Redbacks Baseball and Softball, Parent 1st South Essex, the Noak Bridge Nature Reserve Society, Gloucester Park Murryfield Bowling Club, Ramsden Bellhouse Village Hall and the Badminton Academy.

Langdon Hills Residents’ Association wants to build a park, multi-use games arena, and improved cricket facilities to give youngsters something to do.

David Burton-Sampson, chairman of the group, said: “We are delighted to have had our application for funding accepted. The residents will be over the moon to know phase one of the refurbishment will be completed, hopefully by the summer.”

So far the council has handed out £408,521 from its £1million funding pot.

Cash was set aside from reserves for the 2013/14 financial year, but due to strict criteria the cash will also be available next year.

The council is also considering relaxing rules for more groups to gain access to the fund. Terri Sargent, councillor responsible for community, said: “Congratulations to the successful applicants. It is wonderful to see so many local causes and groups coming forward.”

She encouraged community and voluntary groups which provide services to the borough to visit the website for details and criteria to apply. They can also call 01268 294303 or e-mail