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Community Emergency Fund

This new fund aims to help community sport and physical activity organisations who are experiencing short term financial hardship or the ceasing of operations due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

About the fund

Please note, for the foreseeable future this fund is paused to new applications. We’re in the process of evaluating this fund and all updates in respect to its future will be posted here.

As the country deals with coronavirus (Covid-19), we know sport and physical activity organisations are facing a hugely difficult period of time.

Our Community Emergency Fund aims to deliver immediate funding to those most in need. It's specifically targeted at organisations, including those not currently supported by us, who have a role in supporting the nation to be active but who are experiencing short term financial hardship or the ceasing of operations due to the ongoing crisis.

The types of organisations eligible include local sports clubs forced to close at short notice but who are facing ongoing costs around maintenance and utility bills, and voluntary and community sector organisations who deliver or enable sport and physical activity.

This £35 million fund of National Lottery money is designed to complement other sources of funding from the government, such as funds targeted at small businesses. Please click here to see the funding support that the government has available before you consider applying to this fund.

To see how the fund is progressing, how many applications have been made, how many grants have been awarded, where they're being awarded to and many other bits of useful information, scroll down to the 'How the fund is progressing' section to see our live tracker.

Young people enjoying sport and physical activity

Who and what we'll fund

Who we'll fund

Any organisation delivering community sport and physical activity can apply to our fund if it’s experiencing short term financial hardship or the ceasing of operations due to the impact of coronavirus. We'll be prioritising organisations that work with under-represented groups - see the fund criteria for more information.

The organisations that can apply include:

  • Local sports clubs
  • Voluntary and community sector organisations that deliver or enable sport and/or physical activity, including organisations that are not solely or primarily sports organisations and have an important role to play in keeping people active, that may need support for other parts of their organisation to remain open
  • Small charitable trusts that do not qualify for financial help elsewhere
  • Regional or county level organisations or leagues that have already paid out funds for activities that are now cancelled and are not able to claim funds from elsewhere.

What we'll fund

The fund has been developed to help community sport and physical activity organisations meet their obligations, in particular fixed costs, which are no longer supported with revenue as a result of coronavirus. This might cover expenditure on:

  • Rent 
  • Utility costs 
  • Insurances 
  • Facility or equipment hire 
  • Core staffing costs (including casual workers) that cannot be met elsewhere by other government funds
  • Retrospective losses dating from 1 March, 2020.

Some examples of the sort of things our fund can help with are: 

  • Support a boxing club to pay for their utility bills and other costs for their facility when no activity is taking place 
  • Support a local league who have paid for equipment to run a competition which is now cancelled and therefore will not receive the money they had expected to cover the cost of that equipment.

Who the fund's not able to help

This fund is designed to help grassroots sport and physical activity providers. This means we're not able to help the following organisations with this fund.

  • Local authorities, including town and parish councils 
  • Schools, colleges and universities 
  • Commercial sport and physical activity providers, e.g. private gyms 
  • Leisure operators 
  • Individuals who are either employed or self-employed within the sport and physical activity sector. 

Any organisation or individuals who can access support through the government’s financial packages should do so in the first instance. We'll review the availability of these packages on an ongoing basis. 

What our funding can't be used for

Funding cannot be used for:

  • Activities or costs which are already covered by other government funding, including rates
  • New activities or events – please see our other funding programmes for this
  • Capital works
  • Costs beyond the end of July 2020.

How much we'll fund

Awards will be between £300 and £10,000. In exceptional circumstances we’ll consider awards of more than £10,000.

    A boxer goes through a drill

    Key things to note before applying

    We expect that applicants will have exhausted all other government funding sources before applying to this fund.

    Given the enormity of the current crisis, we're likely to get more applications than we can fund so we’ll direct funds to where they’re most needed.

    Number of applications

    Our expectation is that organisations will only apply once to this fund for the immediate period, from 1 March through to 31 July, 2020.

    But we recognise the changing situation that we’re all in, so we’ll continue to review whether organisations might need ‘top-up’ awards or to make a second application depending on the period of disruption.

    Fund criteria

    Please read the four criteria below for our Community Emergency Fund before you apply:

    • 1. Audience/reach

      We'll prioritise organisations whose work does one or more of the following:

      • Delivers activity in disadvantaged areas, including areas of rural deprivation
      • Works with one or more of the following groups: women and girls, disabled people, lower socio-economic groups, Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups (BAME), LGBT+, older people, or those with long term health conditions
      • Organisations that are maintaining an element of self-employed workforce not covered by other funding.

      This criterion relates to the following question in our application form:

      29. Please describe the work that your organisation does and who in the community takes part in your activities.

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    • 2. The role you play

      The organisation has actively delivered or enabled community sport and/or physical activity in the last 12 months and is proactively staying in touch with participants in this period. 

      This criterion relates to the following two questions in our application form:

      30. Please briefly describe the activities your organisation has delivered in the last 12 months. 

      31. How are you staying in touch with your participants during this current closure period?

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    • 3. Financial need

      The organisation can demonstrate clear financial need as a result of the current situation.

      This criterion relates to questions 23-28 in our application form:

      Please set out: 

      • The expected financial impact over the next three months, including the impact of any actions you can take to reduce this
      • The minimum expenditure you will have to meet while activity isn't happening
      • Any immediately available, unrestricted funds you have in reserve. 

      Note - applicants will not be penalised for having reserves, as all well-run organisations should have reserves, but the question helps the overall assessment of the organisation’s situation. 

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    • 4. Impact of not receiving funding

      The organisation demonstrates the consequences of not receiving funding, and how this impacts on the organisation's ability to deliver sport and physical activity, with particular reference to the audience groups named in criterion 1 - audience/reach.

      This criterion relates to the following question in our application form:

      32. What would be the consequences if your organisation is not successful in securing this funding?

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    What happens after I've applied?

    Once you've submitted your application form, we'll assess it against our fund criteria.

    Because of the high number of applications being submitted, it's taking a little longer than we'd hoped to assess each one.

    But we're doing so as fast as we can, and we'll be in touch with every applicant soon after your submission.

    Frequently asked questions

    • How does Sport England funding work with wider government and other sources of support? Can we apply for all?

      Sport England funding should be your last option. Please check whether your organisation is eligible for support from other government sources or other funding programmes before applying to the Community Emergency Fund.

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    • I have an existing funding relationship/project with Sport England, can I still apply for the fund?

      If you have an existing funding arrangement /project which is live with Sport England, please get in touch with your case manager/relationship manager before you make an application.

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    • I can’t access other government support and my organisation doesn’t fit the fund. What else can I do?

      Please get in touch using our coronavirus contact form, explaining your situation. Please also check our website for alternative sources of investment.

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    • Can staff costs be included in our funding request?

      Costs for casual staff can be included if it’s important for you to retain/support these workers through your time of shutdown.

      Please visit this government website to see if you can access funding from any other government schemes first.

      Costs to ‘top-up’ salaries for furloughed staff (i.e. 20% of staff costs to go with 80% from government funding) cannot be included.

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    • Will the fund support players' wages, salaries or expenses?

      No. The Community Emergency Fund is aimed at community grassroots sport and physical activity.

      We will not contribute to any losses associated with professional or semi-professional players or expenses.

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    • Can we still apply to the fund if we have cash reserves in the bank?

      The Community Emergency Fund is aimed at those community organisations which need it most.

      We recognise that it's good management to have some cash reserves, so this will not preclude organisations from applying.

      When you apply, you’ll need to tell us how much your reserves are, if and how you're going to use these and how you're going to use the funds you're applying for.

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    • Can we use consultants to help us write our application?

      The Community Emergency Fund application form is a straightforward set of questions to help you to explain your current loss of funding and your need to request funds from us.

      We strongly advise that no consultant help is required. If you do need help, then do call us on 0345 8508 508.

      Please beware of any consultancies requesting a percentage of any successful grant. These fees are strictly ineligible.

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    • Our club is part of a bigger multi-sport club. Should we or the wider sports club apply? Can we both apply?

      Organisations should apply to cover the costs of bills that they're directly responsible for, but now cannot afford to cover.

      For example, a bowls club might be part of a wider sports and social club. The bowls club needs to pay rent to the parent sports and social club. The sports and social club has bills to pay of insurance, licences and subscriptions etc. Both could apply to this fund.

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    • Can we apply for funding to cover the cost of alcohol in our clubhouse that will go out of date while we're closed?

      Funding to cover the costs of alcohol is not eligible.

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    • Can we apply for funding to cover the cost of trophies that have been purchased and end of year/season presentations?

      Costs to cover the purchase of trophies and end of year presentations will not be deemed eligible.

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    • We need to carry on looking after our grass pitches/courts/greens and are aware that only essential maintenance should be carried out. What's classed as essential maintenance?

      The Grounds Management Association (GMA) has worked with national governing bodies to produce advice and guidance on what works may be possible to be carried out through this period. 

      There are sport specific notes for football, rugby union, rugby league, cricket, bowls and croquet. These documents suggest and highlight the effective but minimal works to keep surfaces ticking over.

      Please consider the advice provided in these documents when thinking about and planning what maintenance your organisation can do during lockdown, and when preparing your application for funding.

      Read the GMA's advice and guidance.

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    • How much information can I submit with my application?

      Each of the questions in the application allow you to write up to 900 words.

      You don’t need to use all of this space if you don’t need it. You can also attach or email supporting documents with your application.

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    • Can I claim for income I would have received if my event had gone ahead?

      No, we cannot cover prospective losses – only losses that have actually happened as a result of an event not going ahead, and then only where that income is needed to cover the club’s core costs in the next few months.

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    • I can’t accept National Lottery funding for religious reasons, can I still apply?

      If you can’t accept National Lottery funding for religious reasons, we do have some very limited scope to fund organisations.

      If you'd like to apply, please do so through the application portal, and state in your application why you might not accept National Lottery funds.

      Your application will be assessed in the same way that we assess all applications.

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    • Can we apply for essential pitch maintenance costs for football?

      No. As of Thursday 7 May, 2020, we will no longer support football pitch maintenance costs.

      This is because the Football Foundation has launched a new Pitch Preparation Fund specifically to support costs associated with pitch maintenance and preparation.

      Please visit the Football Foundation website for further details on the fund and how to apply.

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    How the fund is progressing

    How many applications have we had so far? How many have been approved? How much funding have we allocated?

    We've put together a handy tool which is being constantly updated to answer all those questions, and more. 

    We recommend viewing in full screen mode, where possible. If you encounter issues viewing this report using Internet Explorer, please try another browser.

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