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Small Grants Programme

Our Small Grants Programme seeks to develop opportunities for communities to get more people physically active and we'll support new projects through providing National Lottery funding of between £300 and £15,000.

About the fund

We want to support projects that bring communities together and provide sport and physical activities for people who may be less physically active.

We also particularly want to support projects focusing on environmental sustainability.

We believe that communities that work together and share resources provide a stronger and more sustainable impact.

Therefore, we want applications from projects that demonstrate how they connect with their communities, make best use of the existing skills and assets in an area, and will provide the biggest possible impact to those who need it most.

We also want projects to show how they've sought to reduce their impact on the environment through the goods and services they use to deliver the activity.

Please be aware that we always have more applications than we're able to fund, so our priority is to support projects working with people in disadvantaged communities.

See our section on priorities below for more information.

Key information

  • Awards of £300-£15,000 are available to not-for-profit organisations.
  • Multiple applications can be submitted, but organisations can only have awards of up to £15,000 in any 12-month period.
  • Awards are to help inactive and less active people become more active.
  • Our priority is to support projects working with people living in areas of disadvantage as defined by the Indices of Multiple Deprivation areas 1 to 3.
  • Applications should explain why there's a need for the project and how end users have been involved in developing the project.
  • Applications should consider how the project adds value to services currently available in your local community, and work collaboratively with other groups to maximise the impact of the project.
  • The closing date for applications is 31 March 2024.

His Majesty the King

Our Small Grants programme always seeks to support projects which bring communities together and provide sport and activities for local people who may be less physically active. 

In this coronation year, we are also looking at two additional areas which reflect His Majesty the King's personal passions. 

We're inviting projects that focus on sustainable activity while reducing the impact on the environment, to put forward their ideas -  for example activity which could involve purchasing locally made equipment to extend capacity in a club or using local community assets to minimse travel. 

We've have also added the additional priority of focusing on the development of skills in young people. The ideas are over to you, but this could mean supporting young people through coaching qualifications or relevant sports administration courses, or trying new sessions to bring new participants into your club

Find out more about our support for environmental sustainability projects

A group of teenagers play basketball in a park.

Who and what we'll fund

  • Who can apply

    We welcome applications from a wide range of not-for-profit organisations, provided your organisation has a minimum of three unrelated/non-cohabiting trustees or directors.

    You must be able to show that decision making/voting rights are equitably distributed to be eligible for funding - incorporated bodies must show this on their Persons of Significant Control register.

    If you are applying for over £10,000 then your organisation will be required to meet Tier one of our Governance Code.

    Eligible types of organisations are:

    • a community amateur sports club (as registered with HMRC)
    • an unregistered voluntary and community organisation with a not-for-profit constitution
    • a registered charity
    • a not-for-profit company (limited by guarantee without share capital or charitable incorporated organisation)
    • a community interest company (CIC) or other social enterprise
    • community benefit society
    • a school using their facilities for wider community benefit.
    • local authority bodies (including town, parish and community councils).

    Flooding (only while applications are open)

    The Small Grants eligibility criteria will apply to organisations seeking storm relief funding.  Organisations applying will need to confirm they have any relevant permissions required to carry out the work.

    Previous recipients of emergency funding from us for flood or storm damage that are now applying again will need to show the steps they have taken to mitigate against further damage.

    Applicants will need to submit evidence of damage which is directly attributable to the recent flooding (October / November 2023). Please upload photographs with your application.

    Applicants should also show why the damage couldn’t be covered by their insurance policy.

    As part of our commitment towards our collective net zero ambitions, applicants should explain how, as an organisation, they are attempting to reduce energy usage, promote responsible travel and reduce waste.

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  • Who can't apply

    While the focus is on what will be achieved, there are some organisation types that aren’t eligible for this fund.

    Your organisation can't apply if you're:

    • an individual, sole trader or organisation with less than three people or where decision making is not equitably shared (e.g. an incorporated body with Persons of Significant Control)
    • a national governing body or Active Partnership
    • a commercial/for-profit entity
    • based outside the UK
    • an organisation applying on behalf of another.
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  • What we can fund

    • Provided your project meets the programme aims, we can fund a wide range of costs and items.

    However, your application should state how your project adds value to existing services or provision – we won’t fund costs that are already being incurred.

      Your project should consider how you involve your community in the design and delivery of the project to help show it's really needed.

      We'd like our funding to connect communities and build on the strengths and assets already in place.

      Here are some projects we've funded previously and below examples of what can be funded - if you're not sure whether we can fund an item, please speak to us beforehand by calling 03458 508 508,  or emailing

      • Coaching – providing opportunities for those less likely to be active, offering them an activity they want to participate in.
      • Volunteer training – develop your organisation’s volunteer base through offering training to both new and existing volunteers.
      • Service alterations providing new ways of delivering your existing activity to attract new participants/members, for example offering outreach or web-based classes or targeting new audiences through connecting with other providers in your locality.
      • Additional equipment to enable expansion of activity or safer delivery of activity, for example a defibrillator and associated costs (such as training for its use) as part of a wider project to deliver sport and physical activity.
      • Minor facility alterations – examples include adapting a community space to make it more accessible for those with mobility impairments, refurbishing a space to enable sport and physical activity to be offered or improving a space to make it more energy efficient. Please note, you must have, or provide confirmation that you don't need, the relevant planning permission/building control consent and/or landlord approval. Your application will not be successful unless you include this information in your application.

      Our funding will support projects delivering recognised sports and physical activity  a full list of which can be found here.

      Flooding (only while applications are open)

      We can fund emergency costs to help restore sports facilities and activity venues. Examples include:

      • skip hire to remove sediment and rubbish
      • minor electrical works to restore power
      • decontamination works or clearing of blocked drains
      • cleaning work to get showers and changing rooms back up and running
      • securing buildings.
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    • What we won't fund

        Unfortunately, we can't fund everything and this fund won't cover:

        • projects that don’t meet the programme aims of tackling inequalities and bringing the community together
        • general running costs or existing costs of your organisation (e.g. utility bills, staffing etc.)
        • existing activity – although we may pay for additional costs associated with the expansion of that activity
        • construction/refurbishment projects where building regulations approval, planning permission, or landlord consent are needed and haven't yet been obtained
        • replacement of equipment
        • projects incurring costs prior to the date of an award letter
        • costs associated in submitting the application, e.g. paying someone to write your application for you
        • projects not ready to begin within six weeks (unless you explain why you need longer to prepare the project)
        • projects requiring Sport England funding for longer than 12 months
        • costs benefitting an individual (e.g. membership fees)
        • costs benefitting participants under five years of age (unless part of a family orientated project involving adults)
        • costs that aren't a direct responsibility of the applicant to cover (for example, costs associated with a facility not owned/leased by the applicant)
        • VAT you can recover
        • activity where there’s a statutory responsibility – e.g. curriculum time delivery
        • activity where participants live outside England
        • projects delivering a high-risk sport where coaches or the applicant organisation isn’t affiliated to the relevant national governing body
        • football-only/football dominant projects (such projects should consider The Football Foundation).

        Flooding (only while applications are open)

        The funding is only designed to help with the initial clear up to enable activity to resume. We won’t fund the following costs:

        • loss of stock
        • replacement of damaged equipment
        • loss of income
        • goods or services valued in-kind (you'll be required to provide evidence of expenditure)
        • any routine maintenance or repairs resulting from everyday wear and tear
        • any expenditure coverable by insurance
        • football facilities where they are predominantly used for affiliated / competitive league football – any funding request for projects that include football will need to clearly show they are a multi-activity facility.
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      Funding priorities

      We always get more applications than we’re able to fund and therefore need to set priorities.

      As noted above, we particularly want to support projects working with people located in areas of high deprivation (specifically people living in areas defined by Indices of Multiple Deprivation 1-3). To see which area your project location fits into, you can use this postcode checker.

      We recognise there’ll be many people who have lower levels of sport and physical activity outside those geographic areas.

      We’ve always tried to address inequalities through our funding and this programme is focused on tackling inequalities so all applications should explain how they do this.

      Projects that are built from local experience and feedback from those who will participate; that bring together various groups and communities; and also make the most of local facilities and equipment will be more likely to be funded.

      It’s important your project can continue to run, or have a lasting legacy as a result of the funding.

      You can use our Local Area Insights tool to help strengthen your application and help demonstrate the need for your project in your area.


      Preparing your application

      Remember that we know nothing about your project and so it's important you take your time to explain the essentials.

      • Who will benefit?
      • Why the project is needed.
      • How you'll deliver those benefits.

      About your project

      The best applications explain the problem they are trying to solve.

      Think about the people you're going to work with and be clear how you know why they need this project.

      We particularly encourage applications that have been developed by the communities they'll support, as this helps show there's a need for the activity.

      You should also think about other services that may currently be offered by other organisations in your area and explain how your project adds value to them.

      Consider the potential impact or outcomes it'll have on participants, but be realistic with your targets and ambitions.


      Tell us the resources you need to deliver the activity and how you'll ensure your project is a success.

      Make it clear how many people will benefit, how many sessions they'll attend and how you'll reach that target.

      Be clear about whether your project is supporting existing or new participants.

      Think about any other organisations you’ll work with to help maximise the benefit of the project and how you'll achieve a legacy with the project.


      A breakdown of what any potential funding will be spent on.

      Consider whether your budget is offering the best value for money and includes all the costs you need to deliver the activity, even if you don’t require all the money from us.

      Supporting documents

      To make our process simpler, we don’t require you to provide any supporting documents at the time of application.

      However, we'll need to undertake some checks on your organisation so may request documents such as accounts or governing documents from you if we're looking to support your project.

      If you have project plans, budget, letters of support or videos that show the impact of your work then feel free to upload them or provide links to them when you submit your application.

      Should you be successful in securing grant funding, you'll be required to provide evidence of a bank account set up in the name of your organisation.

      Register your organisation

      If you've not applied before, you'll need to register your organisation before you can start an application – you can do this here.

      Submit your application

      We're looking for the best ideas, not the best written applications, and you should only write something you think really helps us understand how good your project is.

      Focus on the points detailed above and use the guidance available by clicking on the '?' icon next to each question on the application form for more help.

      Apply now

      After you've applied

      We’ll try and get a decision to you as soon as possible. Usually this takes around three weeks, but when we experience a very high volume of interest a decision may take longer.

      Please bear with us as our funding teams respond to the huge demand for our funding. We’ll assess applications in the order they’re submitted. If we need some more information, we may contact you.

      Please be aware we only have limited funds available and therefore we can’t fund everything we’d like to, including some really good projects.

      • If you're successful

        If you're successful, you'll receive an award agreement by email, stating the purpose of the award and containing our terms and conditions, along with our monitoring and evaluation requirements.

        It'll also contain forms you'll need to fill in to accept and claim your award. Please read your award letter carefully and keep it safe for future reference.

        For sports we deem higher risk, appropriate affiliation to the national governing body will be required.

        Your grant funding is intended specifically for what you've applied for, and any proposed changes must be discussed with us in advance.

        You should also keep all receipts and evidence of expenditure. Payments for goods and services for the project must be made directly from the organisation’s bank account (i.e. not by cash) as we may request bank statements to verify project expenditure. You should make sure payments from your account are clearly annotated.

        If you have any questions, please email or call 03458 508 508.

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      Support for environmental sustainability projects

      We want to support sports and communities to protect and adapt the environments in which sport and physical activity takes place and work together towards our collective net zero ambitions. 

      We're inviting applications from projects that focus on supporting inactive and less active people to become more active, while reducing our impact on the environment - projects that can deliver both environmental and physical activity benefits for your community.

      We're asking communities to put forward ideas addressing any of three key environmental areas for our sector, which have been designed with and for local communities.

      The ideas should particularly benefit those experiencing greater disadvantage and all projects must have a 'line of sight' to physical activity, supporting inactive and less active audiences to be active while also addressing environmental sustainability.

      The three key areas are outlined below, along with an example project for each. 

      • Reducing energy use

        What? Actions and measures supporting your local efforts towards net zero.

        This could include installing energy meters or low cost measures to improve insulation/ventilation to help reduce your energy usage; automatic controls to switch lights and electrical equipment off; using LED bulbs; or staging lower impact events and competitions.

        How? A tennis club applies for funding to switch their court lights to LED bulbs. By switching bulbs, the club can afford to light more courts and offer additional taster sessions for the local community while running their regular member classes on other courts.

        The sessions are designed with a particular community group, reflecting their interests and needs.

        The positive environmental impact is highlighted alongside other measures in the club’s promotional materials, helping to attract an environmentally conscious audience to participate in the club’s activities.  

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      • Encouraging responsible travel

        What? This could include encouraging people to walk or cycle where possible and providing safe cycle/scooter/buggy storage options; promoting accessible and safe public transport routes and lift sharing; and using local community assets to minimise travel. 

        How? In collaboration with its residents, a local housing provider creates a series of walking routes to and from local community facilities, replacing journeys residents usually do via car.

        The routes are launched with a guided introduction, the community support each other to use the routes by travelling together and creating clear step-by-step guides.

        Others are encouraged to take part by sharing the positive experiences of walking and the benefits for the local environment.

        The residents count and promote the number of car journeys ‘saved’.  

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      • Reducing waste and improving resource efficiency

        What? Measures and actions that seek to reduce and eliminate waste.

        This could include encouraging people to repair, recycle or re-use sports equipment or starting a kit and equipment donation scheme; offering more environmentally sustainable food and drinks packaging; reducing use of single-use plastics, for example by providing water-refill stations at your venue and encouraging participants to bring reusable bottles. 

        How? A school and cycling hub set up a donation scheme together.

        Old equipment is donated, children and families are matched to bikes through taster and maintenance classes, and are offered the chance to keep equipment alongside cycling sessions run across the school holidays.   

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