Due to the ongoing challenges arising from the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, we continue to experience a high volume of calls and applications to our open funds, including Return to Play: Small Grants and our crowdfunding element, Return to Play: Active Together - these will be our priority over the summer of 2021.
To enable us to do this, and support other funds, we closed Return to Play: Community Asset Fund to new applications on Friday 30 April.
Since opening in October 2020, the fund received more than 780 applications and invested £4.5 million in 146 projects.
Most applications sought capital funds for general improvements, rather than to address key issues that would enable people to return to play in a safe environment - which upheld wider public health objectives.
Regrettably, too many were poor applications, seeking to meet desirable, rather than essential, needs.
Our general Community Asset Fund (CAF) was paused to new applications in March 2020 as we targeted our resources to our emergency coronavirus response.
Our resources remain stretched and, as a result, CAF remains paused and we currently don't have a timeline for when it may reopen - we know this will be frustrating for some and we apologise for any inconvenience this causes.
In the meantime, we suggest looking at our Return to Play: Active Together fund as a possible alternative.
We also have a list of several other sources of funding, while the government has compiled a list of other avenues for voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations to explore.
The Return to Play: Community Asset Fund was for new applications focused solely on helping support clubs and community groups through the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic to return to play.
It was designed to provide capital funding, predominantly from the National Lottery, to help local sports clubs and organisations to adapt and open important places and spaces so people within their community can return to play and physical activity, safely. The focus was on responding to the immediate challenges of sports and physical activity returning to play.
There were some important changes to how this funding will operate, compared to how our pre-coronavirus Community Asset Fund operated. These were:
- Your project must have been about addressing the challenges you were facing because of coronavirus and linked to enabling people to return to play. We weren't funding general capital works such as improvements to clubhouses, courts, nets etc.
- The minimum level of funding available was £10,001 - for anything less than this, please see our Return to Play: Small Grants fund.
- The maximum level of funding available was £50,000 - this was to ensure we could fund more clubs and groups.