Who and what we'll fund
Who can apply
You don't have to be a sports organisation to apply, however, delivering sport or physical activity sport should be an established and significant part of what you do.Read more
Your organisation can apply if you're:
- a not-for-profit voluntary group or sports club
- a not-for-profit community club or organisation
- a registered charity
- a not-for-profit company
- a community interest company (CIC) or other social enterprise
- a leisure operator, operating a single site.
Please note that to apply for a grant in excess of £25,000 you must either own your community asset or have a lease agreement, with ideally seven years or longer remaining, that allows you, with the landlord's consent, to make any necessary adaptations.
If you have any queries on this, please contact our funding helpline on 03458 508 508, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who can't apply
There are some entities we won't currently be able to fund through our return to play funding.Read more
Your organisation can't apply if you're:
- an individual or sole trader
- a statutory body or educational establishment - including academies and universities
- a leisure centre operator, operating more than one site
- a national governing body (NGB) or Active Partnership
- a commercial/for profit entity
- an organisation delivering football-only activities.
Through various funds, we're committing up to £220.5 million of funding to help the sport and physical activity sector through the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
What we can fund
Applications will be welcomed for projects seeking to implement adaptations needed to ensure clubs and community facilities can reopen safely and operate within the government's/NGB's rules and guidance.Read more
This could be a project to:
- adapt the way you use a place or space to meet return to play guidance, e.g. by creating a one-way circulation system, improving ventilation, or access arrangements
- convert an existing space to help meet social distancing requirements, such as additional changing accommodation, showers etc.
- make improvements to a building or open space to enable activity to take place as a temporary arrangement, such as a vacant warehouse, shop or community centre
- cover an outdoor area or install temporary floodlights to enable activity to take place.
Your project must be for fixed permanent, or semi-permanent, capital works and applications for non-coronavirus related works will not be accepted during this time.
What we won't fund
Unfortunately, we can't fund everything, and this fund won't cover:Read more
- projects not clearly related to coronavirus challenges and returning to play
- revenue-only projects (for example, additional facility hire, volunteer training, cleaning, signage/floor marking etc.) - please see our Return to Play: Small Grants fund
- routine maintenance and repairs resulting from wear and tear
- retrospective funding, i.e. paying for works you’ve already started or completed
- capital projects unable to deliver significant return to play activity within six weeks from national and/or local restrictions being lifted
- projects seeking to adapt or improve social or spectator spaces
- projects seeking to adapt or create spaces to attract new participants or extend the pre-pandemic offer
- football-only projects*.
We can't fund everything
We know from experience that all our capital funding programmes are oversubscribed, which means we must make some tough decisions.
Please be aware that we only have limited funds available and therefore can't fund everything we'd like to, including some really good projects - if we can't fund your project, we'll tell you why.
The research you need
We carry out a lot of research to help you with your application – the information below outlines some of the findings relating to the target audiences for this fund.Read more
People who feel worried or anxious about contracting coronavirus for a prolonged period
- Concerns about contracting coronavirus and worries about the safety of family members, including those still shielding, can undermine good intentions to be active. We know from previous Active Lives data that people with medium-high levels of anxiety are already less active.
- 7-in-10 adults remain worried about exercising with others and report they’d feel safer exercising at home rather than public spaces. Many people are not returning to their pre-coronavirus activity choices and may never return.
- This demonstrates the importance of working with providers to find simple ways to manage this worry and anxiety as they reopen and restart, e.g. ongoing reassurance around key issues like hygiene, proximity to others and policing behaviour.
- The longer people don't return to the activities they were doing before in the places and spaces they once did, the more challenging it’ll be for us to change their behaviours back.
People disproportionately affected financially as a result of coronavirus
- The financial uncertainty as a result of coronavirus has had a profound impact on people’s ability to be active.
- For many people, a reduction in disposable income is leading to a reduction in sport or leisure spend, e.g. memberships and subscriptions, and this is likely to be further impacted by the ending of the furlough scheme.
- In addition to this, we know people on lower incomes have less mental bandwidth to think about doing other things (such as being active). The chaos which can be caused by financial difficulties means people are less likely to be thinking about being fit and healthy.
- Activities that are easy to do (reduce friction for this group)/free/low cost/provide good value for money, are likely to become more and more appealing and providers need to consider hybrid models to maintain their audiences in the short term.
People experiencing a greater burden of care because of coronavirus
- A wide range of research suggests women have taken on greater amounts of caring responsibilities and 72% of parent carers of disabled children provided more care during lockdown than before.
- For many, this means less available time and significantly reduced mental bandwidth to think about being active. Many continue to worry about the impacts of coronavirus on those they care for.
- The gradual return to workplaces and children returning to school, education and childcare may create an increase in time, for some, and the bandwidth to think about being active again.
How much can I apply for?
No two places or spaces are the same and you and your organisation know better than us what your immediate need may be.
Only you are best placed to shape your project and the funding request that you make to us, but if you’re unsure and need to talk it through, our advisors can be reached on our funding helpline by calling 03458 508 508. If in doubt, please call us to discuss, as this may enable us to direct you to the best source of support.
We know small and medium-scale capital awards can make a significant difference, therefore we envisage a typical award would fall into one of two categories.
- Small-scale investments ranging from £10,001 to £25,000:
- the investment will address any immediate works required to adapt your place or space to enable a safe return to play.
- Medium-scale investments ranging from £25,001 to £50,000:
- the investment will address more substantial, but still immediate, changes that may be required to a facility or space to enable a safe return to play.
We don’t expect to make large-scale awards of more than £50,000. If you’re seeking a higher investment we recommend you email email@example.com to discuss your specific situation, before starting an application.
Likewise, if you’re seeking investment of £10,000 or below, please see the information on our Return to Play: Small Grants fund.
Submitting your application
To date, we've received a high volume of applications that we've unfortunately been unable to support.Read more
Therefore, before you apply, please consider:
- if your need is a genuine result of coronavirus and will it facilitate returning to play?
- If not, please visit our other ways to generate funding page.
- if following local/national guidance, do you hope to return to delivering activity within the next six weeks?
- if you’re a not-for profit organisation
- if your project is definitely for building works
- If not, please visit our Return to Play: Small Grants page.
- if you’re applying for funds to replace lost income
- If needing to plug a gap in your finances due to the pandemic, please visit our Return to Play: Active Together page.
- if your project is for delivering football-only activity
- If it is, then please visit the Football Foundation instead.
- if you’ve thought about crowdfunding
- It’s a great way to raise funds and we can support you with setting up a campaign page. If you project is coronavirus-related, we may also be able to consider a financial pledge to support you.
Full details of all our criteria for this fund can be found above.
If you’re not sure on anything, our funding helpline can be contacted on 03458 508 508, or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you're confident you meet our criteria, you can apply to the fund here.
- if your need is a genuine result of coronavirus and will it facilitate returning to play?
After you've applied
We aim to let you know our decision within three weeks. If we need some more information, we may contact you.
Please be aware that we only have limited funds available and therefore we can’t fund everything we’d like to, including some good projects which are general improvement works, not closely linked to the challenge of returning to play due to the ongoing pandemic. If we can’t fund your project, we'll tell you why.
If I'm successful, what happens next?
If we like your project and decide to fund it, we’ll need you to provide some additional documents (no need to submit them with your application).
Based on what is described, the standard information we may require is:
- evidence of your organisation’s governance arrangements, such as a constitution
- evidence of financial accounts
- evidence of an organisational bank account
- evidence of security of tenure – this would either be a lease or freehold
- evidence of appropriate safeguarding policies – all organisations we invest in will need to show they have appropriate procedures in place
- membership of, or affiliation to, the national governing body recognised by us - for sports we deem higher risk.
We'll also be asking all projects to complete a short survey, once any awarded funds have been paid in full, to help us learn and share best practise. This will include providing a before and after photograph of any work carried out - see our photo and video guide for advice.
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 that's constantly being updated to answer all those questions, and more.
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