The places where people play sport and get active really matter. Whether it’s the park you run through, the hall you do classes in or the pitch you play on, welcoming, convenient and accessible spaces have a big impact on a person’s experience – and likelihood of coming back.
Help to transform community sports facilities
Traditional sports facilities are an important part of this, but it can be much wider too. There are thousands of outdoor spaces up and down the country – like canal towpaths, reservoirs and woodlands – all with great potential to be used and enjoyed as part of an active lifestyle.
If you know of a facility or space that’s important in your local area and could do with some help to improve it or open it up to more people, our new Community Asset Fund could be the answer.
What are we looking for?
We’re interested in talking to lots of different sports clubs and community organisations with great ideas to create, or improve, opportunities to play sport or just get active. For example, you might be:
- A community organisation looking to take over a sports facility that might be under threat of closure or is underused.
- A sports club that wants to expand or improve the sporting experience you offer your customers.
- People who simply have a great idea for a project, like making physical improvements to a building or open space, that’s clearly needed in the local community.
How will it work in the beginning?
In December, we're going to launch a programme to test this new way of making sporting spaces work better for local communities. This £7.5 million investment is going to be available for a wide range of organisations such as sports clubs, community groups and public bodies to apply for.
£7.5m fund launching in December
It might be that you need help develop a proposal, or to consult your local community on what they would like to see happen. You might need help to get partners behind it and see what other funding or support might be available. Or maybe you already have a very clear idea of what you want to do.
We’re making the application process as simple as possible, and will be able to talk you through it. We anticipate making a wide range of awards from £5,000 up to £150,000. We will provide more detailed information on the application process in January 2017 and expect to make the first awards from April 2017 onwards.
More funding will become available after the initial phase.
What are we trying to achieve?
There’s a number of things we want to achieve with this funding, but most importantly we want to help local clubs and groups to create high quality, welcoming and financially sustainable facilities that benefit their community for years to come.
Sometimes, that will be by investing in a sports club to improve its facilities – perhaps refurbishing their changing rooms or fitting a new boiler in the club house.
We want to help local clubs and groups to create high quality, welcoming and financially sustainable facilities
Other times, it could be supporting a community group that doesn’t have a base to take over a local building that’s closed or underused, but that with a little help could be transformed into somewhere people could take part in sport or get active as part of a range of activities.
Who might consider applying for funding?
Any eligible organisation with a great and innovative idea can apply for our support. This could include community organisations or clubs that:
- Own or lease existing local facilities that offer the community the chance to play sport and be active.
- Are considering taking over an existing local facility – whether or not it is currently used for sport.
- Haven’t accessed our funding before but that want to create great spaces for people to be active.
What types of projects are we interested in hearing about?
We don’t want to stifle your thinking and creativity, but here are some of the things you could think about:
- Work to repair, expand or improve a community sports facility. Perhaps your roof has been damaged in a storm, or you could increase the amount of time people can use your pitch or courts if you had floodlights installed.
- Taking ownership of an underused playing field that could be transformed into a place for people to get active. Maybe there’s a really well positioned but poorly maintained pitch in your area, that you could take ownership of, improve drainage and access, and bring back into use for the wider local community.
- Transforming an empty or underused building into a space where people can play sport. Is there a vacant community centre or school building that, with a new boiler, paint job and necessary alterations, could be brought back into life as a focus for community activity, including sport?
What support is available now?
It might be that your facilities project is already right for one of our open funding programmes, like our Strategic Facilities Fund. Find out more here.
We’ve also just launched an online toolkit to help community organisations, sports clubs and trusts through every step of the process of transferring ownership of land or buildings from government organisations (such as councils).
Need to know facts:
- Fund: Community Asset Fund
- Value: £7.5 million (initial phase)
- Opening: December 2016
- Anticipated size of bids: £5,000 to £150,000
- Bids: From January 2017
- Facilities Investment Guide: January 2017
- Awards: April 2017 onwards