Sport England has launched a new £16.5 million fund to give additional help to the sport and physical activity sector during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Return to Play Fund will support groups, clubs and organisations who’ve been impacted by restrictions brought in to tackle the disease, and is part of Sport England’s overall response to the crisis, which now includes more than £220m of government and National Lottery funding.
Chief executive of Sport England, Tim Hollingsworth, said the fund would particularly focus on tackling inequalities in activity that have worsened over the last six months.
“A key priority for us has been to support our sector and all those who deliver sport and activity,” he added. “The disruption we’ve all experienced over the past few months has been unprecedented, with the ability to be active being just one way we’ve been affected, particularly at a time when keeping active and healthy has never been more important.
“With ever changing restrictions and measures being put in place throughout England, there is a continuing urgent need for us to try and support grassroots organisations to put in place the necessary support to safely get everyone active in local areas over the coming months.”
The fund, which is now open to applications, is made up of three parts.
£10m – Return to Play: Small Grants
This will provide grants of between £300 and £10,000 to help sport and activity groups, clubs and organisations respond to the immediate challenges of returning to play in a Covid-19-safe environment.
It’ll help community sport respond to the challenges posed, such as having to deliver in smaller groups, having the correct hygiene and safety equipment and giving training to club volunteers.
It’ll also cover making necessary changes to facilities, supplying additional sports equipment and new signage to meet current government and national governing body rules and guidance.
£5m – Return to Play: Community Asset Fund
This will provide grants ranging in value from £10,001 to £50,000. It’ll help local sports clubs and organisations to adapt and open important places and spaces that can help them welcome back their local community safely.
This will include helping groups, clubs and organisations address the challenges they’re facing by:
adapting how they use space and improving ventilation
converting existing space to meet social distancing requirements, such as additional changing space
making improvements to buildings or open spaces for temporary use to get more people active by using a vacant warehouse, shop or community centre.
£1.5m – Return to Play: Active Together
This crowdfunding initiative will help sports clubs and organisations set up their own campaigns to help sustain them through the crisis.
It’s a great alternative if they don’t meet the priority groups of the other parts of the Return to Play package, and we’ll match crowd funds of up to £10,000 to help cover the loss of income.
The partnership with Crowdfunder will also include advice, guidance and training to help create successful campaigns.
The Return to Play Fund will especially seek to support those groups and organisations working with audiences we’ve identified as finding it more difficult to be active at this time.
- Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities
- people on lower incomes
- those disproportionately affected financially as a result of the crisis
- disabled people and people with long-term health conditions
- those who are experiencing a greater burden of care responsibilities since the pandemic began
Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said the new funding would make a big difference as winter approached.
“Local clubs offer so much to their communities and it’s hugely important that we support them to keep people fit and healthy as we head into winter,” he explained.
“This welcome funding will enable people across the country to enjoy sport safely, boosting their mental and physical health in the months ahead.”
Find out more and apply via the Sport England website.