Between 2012 and 2017, the Improvement Fund will invest £45m of National Lottery funding into medium-sized projects that will improve the quality and experience of sport.
This is being distributed via five funding rounds of £9m per annum.
It is part of Sport England’s strategy which is focused on helping more people acquire lifelong sporting habits.
The Improvement Fund will award capital grants worth £150,000 to £500,000 into sustainable projects with a clear local need.
It bridges the gap between our Strategic Facilities fund which invest in large-scale, multi-sport facilities and our Inspired Fund which supports small-scale community projects.
The latest Active People figures show that 15.5 million people are playing sport once a week, every week, an increase of over 1.5m since London won the bid to host the Games. We are the first host nation to have increased the number of people playing sport off the back of the Games. Despite the data showing record participation numbers for many areas, there is still more to be done. Figures for the 16-25 year old age group have declined by 51,000 over the last year. While this means the majority of this age group still play sport regularly the numbers are not going up.
The priority for Round 3 will be projects that can clearly demonstrate an impact on participation in the 14 – 25 year old age group, and can meet the changing demands of young participants whilst delivering an improved sporting experience. We expect the majority of projects that we support to be adaptations/improvements to existing facilities.
To ensure the Improvement Fund can support as many projects as possible, we will require a minimum of 25% cash partnership funding towards the total project costs. This can come from either the applicant body and/or third parties.
The Improvement Fund is not an open application programme. We will work with selected partners to develop projects before soliciting grant applications which will then be presented to the Sport England Project Committee for consideration.