What we would like to fund

We have specific rules around what we will and will not fund through our Small Grants programme

In order for us to meet National Lottery funding regulations and fulfil our aims, there are some things we will and won't be able to fund.

What we will fund

If your project meets our strategic outcomes and your organisation is eligible, an application is likely to be fundable if it meets the following criteria:

  • Must fit with Sport England's 'Towards an Active Nation' strategy
  • Applications must be for between £300 and £10,000 and total project costs must not exceed £50,000.
  • Projects must be deliverable in a 12 month period from the date of our award letter. 
  • Projects must be focused on sports that are recognised by Sport England. Please note that for sports that Sport England deem higher risk, appropriate affiliation to the National Governing Body will be required. Please call 0345 8508 508 if you are unsure whether your sport fits this criterion.
  • Your project must be delivered to beneficiaries based in England.
  • Your project start date must be at least 10 weeks after submission of your completed application and supporting documents.
  • Your project must be for new activity and new costs associated with helping more people play sport.

What we won't fund

We can support a wide variety of projects, however there are a number of costs that we cannot cover. The following are examples of projects or costs we will not fund:

  • Projects that do not address Sport England's strategic outcomes.
  • Projects that are for sports not recognised by Sport England.
  • The general running costs of an organisation (e.g day to day expenses such as rent, gas, electricity, and insurance costs)
  • Repeat or regular events (except the extra cost of involving new people).
  • Existing activity. This includes repeat funding of projects previously supported by Sport England. We would support a project that follows a small-scale pilot or taster sessions. We define a 'pilot' as a small-scale project that evaluates the time, cost, feasibility and effects of running a particular project.
  • Replacement of equipment. We may fund extra equipment if it allows more people to take part and if you can demonstrate clearly why it is needed.
  • Items which only benefit an individual e.g. bursaries or kit and equipment that is not shared. We may fund team playing kits for new teams or for teams who have not previously had a kit. We are unlikely to fund training and coaches kits and other items of clothing.
  • Salaries - except for coaching costs or fixed term positions needed to meet a specific project requirement. Funding of coaches must be clearly additional to usual club expenditure.
  • Used road vehicles.
  • More than £10,000 to the same organisation in any 12 month period, from the date of our award letter.
  • Activities that the government has a legal obligation to fund, for example, sport sessions which take place in school during curriculum time. We also cannot fund any previously state-funded activity or replace state funding where it is due to end. Please see our full additionality statement.
  • Projects involving construction or refurbishment of property. We will also not fund the erection of temporary buildings or land improvement work (e.g. drainage, resurfacing of playing surfaces, laying of artificial surfaces or installation of irrigation systems).
  • Fixed items of equipment (e.g. goals and nets that cannot be easily removed). We also cannot fund fixed equipment which may require planning permission or may impact on any lease. 
  • Projects that take place or incur costs (including deposits and costs associated in submitting the application) before the date of the offer letter.
  • Contingency costs and VAT you can recover.
  • Projects involving travel to another country where a similar sporting benefit can be gained in England.
  • Sponsorship, endowments or loan repayments.


Small Grants can fund equipment that will help you get people playing sport. If buying equipment is part of your project there are some important things to consider.

Buying equipment shouldn’t be the focus of your project. We view equipment as a means to achieving our target of getting more adults and young people over the age of 14 taking part in sport. Any application for equipment should explain why it is needed and how it will achieve this.


Below are our definitions and some examples of categories relevant to purchase of equipment through Small Grants:

  • Replacement – to replace a piece of equipment that is at the end of its usable life or to replace equipment that has been owned in the past 5 years. An example of this is to replace an old, damaged scoreboard, even if it has been disposed of within the last 5 years, with a new one that serves the same purpose.

Is this fundable? No - Small Grants will not support the cost of replacing equipment. 

  • Upgrade – To replace a piece of equipment with something of a higher grade. For example replacing a manual scoreboard with a larger, electronic one.

Is this fundable? Small Grants can only support these costs where the upgrade has a measurable impact on the number of people playing sport or you can demonstrate this is a defined league requirement. 

  • Additional – Extra equipment that will be used to provide new sporting opportunities. For example a second scoreboard to allow two matches to take place at the same time.

Is this fundable? Yes – Small Grants can support the cost of the additional equipment.

  • Fixed equipment – Any equipment that would incur cost and resource to install and remove. A good example is a standalone scoreboard with its own foundations and mains electrics supply. This definition would not include a scoreboard that is bolted to the floor as this would not incur cost to install and remove.

Is this fundable? No – Small Grants will not support the cost of fixed equipment.

Demonstrating best value

For any equipment purchase we encourage you to get prices from a selection of suppliers to ensure you are getting the best possible price.

If your application includes any single item of equipment with a value of £5,000 or greater we will require you to submit three quotations from different suppliers along with your application