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What we want to fund
We want to support projects that help everyone to take part in physical activity, whether it's formal sport or informal activity that helps people lead more active lifestyles.
We know some people and communities face real barriers to getting active. Our funding can support your project to run activities that help overcome these barriers, and not just formal or traditional sports.
The Small Grants programme wants to support projects which meet one or more of the following aims of our Towards an Active Nation strategy:
- Encouraging inactive people to become more active
- Developing lasting sporting habits
- Developing more positive attitudes among young people
Our priority is to fund activities which reach people and families who have not had the opportunities to be active that others have. This might be for several reasons, including low income or where they live, but also levels of confidence.
We want to fund activities that are relevant, engaging and help people get regularly active – including those who do very little or no exercise at present.
We'll also consider projects that contribute to the broader aims of our strategy. We're particularly interested in projects that involve these groups:
Our key audiences
- People on lower incomes
- Supporting inactive people to become more active
- Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.
You can now apply for funding for projects that work with children from the age of five. We've put together some extra information below about the kinds of projects we’re particularly interested in supporting that involve children aged five to 13. There's also some extra information to consider if football is the focus of your project.
And while our funding mostly supports projects that deliver recognised sporting activity – a full list can be found here – we also want to support a range of activities that people enjoy, including less formal activities. For sports that Sport England deems higher risk, appropriate affiliation to the national governing body will be required. Please call 03458 508 508 if you'd like more information.
So, a project delivering activities not included on the list of recognised sports could still be considered. Please contact us about any other activities that you'd like to deliver.
A few other things to consider
- We want to fund a new activity or a clear expansion on previous projects
- Funding can be up to £10,000 for a project. We may make slightly larger awards in exceptional circumstances
- Projects can last up to three years
- People taking part must be based in England.
We aim to let you know our decision in eight weeks. Projects must not start before a decision has been made.
Our application process
Who can apply
You don’t have to be a sports organisation to apply. We’re more interested in your knowledge of, and track record in, the community that will benefit from the project.Read more
But if you’re a sports club or group, you can still apply for funding. We'll prioritise applications that can show they'll involve people who face barriers to being, and staying, active.
Your organisation can apply if you’re:
- A not-for-profit voluntary or community club or organisation
- A registered charity
- A not for profit company or community interest company or other social enterprise
- A school
- A statutory body.
All organisations we fund will need to show that they meet Tier 1 of A Code for Sports Governance. If you're successful in receiving funding, we may ask you to make changes to your governing document to ensure the requirements are met. You should send us your organisation’s constitution or governing document when you apply. We'll provide support to organisations or clubs to meet this requirement.
What costs a grant can pay for
We can fund a wide range of costs and items. Below are some examples. If you're not sure whether we can fund an item, please speak to us.Read more
We can fund
- New or additional equipment
- Kit for new teams or teams that haven’t had any before
- Fixed-term or sessional staff and/or coaching costs
- Training or coach development costs
- Venue hire
- Volunteer costs or expenses.
Projects with children aged 5-13
We're principally interested in projects that support active play. By active play we mean activity where children are most likely to be in charge. It also has a key role to play in their development, for example by helping a child to learn control, developing creativity and resolving conflict through social interactions. Parents see this type of activity as an opportunity for children to just ‘be kids’ and a more attractive form of downtime than the use of mobile phones, tablets and other devices.
We're also interested in projects that take a whole family approach. We won’t stipulate who should or shouldn’t be included, as it could differ from child to child, but examples might include parents, relatives, carers, guardians or other responsible adults involved in a child’s life.
We'll prioritise projects working with people from lower socio-economic groups and that seek to address identified barriers to participation in football. We will not fund capital items such as building work or fixed equipment like goals. If your football project is capital focused, please visit the Football Foundation website.
Examples of revenue project costs which we'll consider include sessional coaching/activation, venue hire and items of non-fixed equipment such as moveable goals.
Preparing your application
We'll be looking for information on the four areas below. Make sure to tell us about how the project will address these points. You can download an example application form here.Read more
Evidence for the project’s need
What is it the project will look to address? Is there demand from the local community for the project?
And how do you know the project is something they'll be interested in?
The project’s impact
We're looking to understand the impact of each project. We'd like to know how many people will benefit from the project, how many times people will take part and what will change following their involvement.
Things to consider are the impact on people’s physical activity levels, mental wellbeing, social or community development, individual development or economic development.
Planning and delivery
Show how the things you want us to support will lead to the change expected.
Identify any partners that will be involved and their role in delivering the project.
If you have a project delivery plan, please attach that to your application.
How will people continue to take part in the project?
How long will this be sustained for?
And how will funds be raised that enable this?
Gather your supporting documents
You'll need to provide us with copies of certain documents.Read more
- Your governing document/constitution
- Your most recent financial accounts – if you're a new organisation, please submit a three-year income and expenditure forecast
- Your last three bank statements – if you're a new organisation, please provide evidence that you have a bank account
- Your safeguarding policies (if relevant to your project).
These should all be in the name of your organisation and can either be uploaded when completing your application, emailed, or sent by post to:
3 Oakwood Drive
Please remember to include your unique reference number.
You can also include photographs, letters of support or other documents you feel may help explain why your project is needed – but please only include documents that directly relate to your project.
Complete your application
We're looking for the best projects, not the best applications, and you should only write something you think really helps us understand how good your project is.Read more
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.
After you've applied
We aim to let you know our decision in eight weeks. If we do need some more information, we'll contact you.Read more
We only have limited funds available. Sometimes we 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.
If you're successful
If you're successful, you'll receive an award agreement that states the purpose of the award and contains our terms and conditions. It'll also contain various forms that 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.Read more
Your grant is intended specifically for the project you've applied for, and any proposed changes should be discussed with us in advance.
You should also keep all receipts and evidence of expenditure. Payments for goods and services for the project should be made directly from the organisation’s bank account (i.e. not by cash) as we may request bank statements to verify claims for payment.
What we won’t fund
We can't fund all the work that fits our funding priorities and won't cover the following:Read more
- Replacement of equipment
- Items which only benefit an individual
- Existing salaries
- The continuation of a project or a project that has taken place before, including those we've funded previously
- Activities that the government has a legal obligation to fund. This may include sport sessions that take place in school during curriculum. We also cannot fund any previously state-funded activity or replace state funding where it's due to end
- Projects involving construction or refurbishment of property, putting up temporary buildings or land improvement. Also, we can’t fund fixed items of equipment including goals and nets that cannot be easily moved, as well as fixed equipment which may require planning permission or may impact on any lease. This type of project may be eligible under our Community Asset Fund programme
- Projects that take place or incur costs before the date of the offer letter. This includes any form of deposits and costs associated in submitting the application
- Contingency costs and VAT you can recover
- Projects involving travel to another country
- Sponsorship, endowments or loan repayments
- More than £10,000 to the same organisation in a 12-month period
- Projects covered by other Sport England-funded schemes.
Who we can’t accept applications from
There are a number of entities we won't be able to fund through our Small Grants programme:Read more
- Sole traders
- Organisations not established in the UK
- Organisations applying on behalf of another
- Companies that can pass on profits generated from Sport England funding to directors, members or shareholders.
The research you need
We carry out a lot of research to help you with your application - visit our 'know your audience' pages to find research and data to support your application.