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Funding FAQs

On this page you'll find answers to the most common questions we get asked about the funding process.

Take a look at the 'our funds' page to see what funding programmes are open to applications. If your question is not answered below, please send us an email or call us on 0345 8508 508.

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  • Does Sport England fund individuals?

    We don’t directly fund individuals or offer sponsorships, donations or educational support.

    We do, however, fund teams, clubs and organisations.

    If you’re involved with or considering creating one of these groups, please refer to our Club Matters page, which offers a huge amount of information.

    Club Matters is free to use and offers a variety of useful things including online support, workshops, club improvement plans and lots more.  

    If you’re involved with a club, you may be eligible for our Small Grants fund.

    Our Small Grants programme will consider funding the costs of new additional equipment so more people can take part.

    You may also be eligible for funding from another source - please see 'Where else can I apply for funding from?'.

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  • Who can apply for funding?

    We accept applications from any team, club or organisation.

    However, you’ll need to meet at least Tier 1 of our governance code to be eligible for funding.

    The code protects the value for money you receive from sports investments and maximise its effectiveness. 

    The Tier 1 of our governance code is an opportunity for us to work hand-in-hand with the sector and assist in reaching governance standards.

    Our revenue funding is provided through our Small Grants programme which ranges from £300 to £10,000 (we may make slightly larger awards in exceptional circumstance). For more information on Small Grants, click here.

    Application templates can be located on the relevant funding programme web pages, which you can use to make sure you know what will be involved when filling out your online application.

    If you’re a national governing body (NGB), you’ll need to go through a process of ‘recognition’ to become eligible for funding. Recognition determines which NGBs are responsible for governing the sporting activities the Sports Councils are willing to consider supporting and working with.

    You can learn more about sport recognition here

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  • How can I find out what you've funded?

    We have a full list of how and where we've invested money.

    You can find details of the Lottery and Exchequer funding awards we've made by clicking here.

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  • Where else can I apply for funding from?

    We fund a number of NGBs who offer support you may be eligible for. Please check your relevant NGB website before coming to us for funding.

    Our Community Asset Fund (CAF) is our capital fund dedicated to enhancing the spaces in local communities, for which we offer funds between £1,000 to £150,000 - please note, CAF is currently closed to new applications.

    Or you can also see our guide on other ways to generate funding.

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  • I can’t accept National Lottery funding for religious reasons, can you help?

    If you can’t accept National Lottery funding for religious reasons, we do have some very limited to scope to fund smaller projects (for example through our Community Asset Fund or Small Grants programmes) from other sources.

    Given the limited availability, large scale projects are very unlikely to be funded without National Lottery funds.

    If you’d like to apply, you can do so using our regular application material and include a letter stating why you may not accept National Lottery funds.

    We'll assess your application in the same way that we assess all applications.

    If we decide to offer you a grant, provided an alternative source of funds is available, we’ll ensure that your grant will not come from our National Lottery income.

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  • What is additionality?

    Additionality is one of the criteria that we must consider when assessing funding applications.

    For a project to receive National Lottery funding through Sport England, it must meet a criterion called additionality.

    Additionality means that the National Lottery funding should be distinct from any statutory funding and adds additional value to community sport. Lottery funding decisions are independent of Government whilst being compliant with legislation.

    When deciding whether a project fulfils the additionality criteria, we will adopt the following principles:

    Adding additional value to community sport is at the heart of what we do.

    Proceeds of the National Lottery should be used to fund projects, or aspects of projects, that the Government is unlikely to fund. If Exchequer money is not available, nor likely to become available, and no private sector funding is accessible, we can fund with National Lottery money. If Exchequer funding subsequently becomes available for an area that was previously funded by the Lottery, then Lottery funding could be withdrawn but only where there was a reasonable expectation that it will be funded by the Government. This would not be applicable if additional funding provides added benefit that would otherwise not be obtained.

    Additionality principles should not prevent us using National Lottery funding to complement other sources of statutory funding including our Exchequer budgets, as long as there's a clear distinction between the uses of each and an opportunity arises to add additional value to existing schemes.

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  • Does Sport England solicit applications?

    National Lottery legislation allows us to invite applications for funding where the organisation or project has the ability to drive forward our strategic aims.

    When soliciting an application, we'll ensure that those involved in making decisions avoid actual or perceived conflicts of interest. Those making the decision are informed that the application has been solicited. This is the key reason why we insist staff who solicit applications should have a clear separation of duty from those who carry out the assessment of the application.

    Assessment procedures are fair and are seen to be fair. Our staff are careful to impress upon organisations submitting solicited applications that those applications will not necessarily succeed and that they will not be treated differently to unsolicited applications.

    All applications, solicited or otherwise, are assessed on their individual merits.

    We use our solicitation powers in a number of ways:

    1) To invite an organisation to apply for funding where there's a specific strategic need.

    In these cases, one organisation is invited to apply.

    2) Where there's a specific strategic need, but we’re unsure as to which organisations are best placed to deliver against that need.

    In these cases, expressions of interest are invited from the public, proposals are assessed and then organisations are invited to apply for funding.

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  • Does Sport England offer guidance on project-specific enquiries?

    We don’t have the resources to deal with detailed, site-specific, individual enquiries on design, cost or technical issues.

    We encourage people to visit our website as we provide considerable generic guidance that has been developed in conjunction with the industry and national governing bodies of sport (NGBs).

    There's also a wealth of information available on the NGB websites and those of trade organisations such as the Sport and Play Construction Association (SAPCA).

    We don’t have the resources to provide a free consultation service to individual projects that they would otherwise be provided by employing relevant professional advisers to their specific project.

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  • How do I make a complaint?

    To launch a complaint against us, or an organisation we fund or recognise, please see our complaints procedure.

    You can find this by clicking here.

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