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Strategic Facilities Fund

The supply of the right facilities in the right areas is essential to get more people across the nation doing sport and physical activity.

About the Strategic Facilities Fund

Tackling inactivity is a major priority of our Towards an Active Nation strategy. The Strategic Facilities Fund aims to support projects that can encourage people to lead an active and healthy lifestyle. By helping to build the right facilities in the right places, the fund can help deliver local outcomes essential to those communities.

The key objectives of the fund are:

  • To encourage the market to be clear about the purpose of their investment, encouraging development of sustainable environments capable of supporting service delivery that delivers against local outcomes
  • To encourage the market to work collaboratively (cross-sector and boundaries) using research to determine local outcomes, target audience and the behaviour change needed to achieve the outcomes
  • To attract capital investment into local facilities, providing new opportunities to encourage people to live healthier and more active lifestyles.

Strategic Facilities Fund - key facts

  • Anticipated size of bids: Grants of between £500,000 and £2 million can be considered for a standalone project, or as a contribution to a strategic plan that includes more than one project
  • Who we want to work with: Local authorities that are actively developing a strategic vision for their area through cross-sector collaboration, customer insight and identifying local priorities (although the applicant body may be a different organisation)
  • Fund goal: To support the sector to invest strategically in facilities to deliver local outcomes essential to local communities.

Strategic Facilities Fund prospectus

Learn more about the Strategic Facilities Fund with our downloadable prospectus.

Download the Strategic Facilities Fund prospectus

A young gymnast getting some help as she practises vaulting.

Who's it for?

The fund aims to support local authorities invest strategically in sport and physical activity to deliver outcomes essential to local communities. 

We want to place the customer at the heart of all our decisions about facilities and the Strategic Facilities Fund. That means local authorities starting with local insight and really understanding what the community needs and wants. It means thinking about a whole area to make sure existing and future facilities will work together, not just looking at an individual building or the needs of an individual sport.

Boy holding back another Boy

What does it fund?

Our Strategic Facilities Fund directs capital investment into key local projects. These are identified through a strategic vision with the impact on local outcomes and key performance indicators clearly identified. Projects that can provide an integrated offer of services and facilities will be prioritised.

Key features which applications will be expected to demonstrate are:

  • A clear strategic vision and planned approach focused on local outcomes (for example, cross-sector collaboration, health, leisure, social services, libraries and crime prevention)
  • Utilisation of local insight to identify the target audiences, the behaviour change required and how to achieve this
  • Clarity on how sport and physical activity can impact on achieving the outcomes
  • A facility mix that’s been developed through a thorough understanding of the target audience and behaviour change
  • A cost-effective build and financially sustainable operating model
  • Integrated service facility offers (co-location where appropriate)
  • A facility that provides the potential to deliver the identified outcomes
  • An operating contract that can deliver the desired outcomes
  • An effective data analysis system to evaluate performance and assess achievement of outcomes.

Our investment also requires projects to measure against the following key performance indicators:

  • An increase in the percentage of the local population taking part in sport and physical activity at least twice a month
  • A decrease in the percentage of local people physically inactive.

How do I apply?

The fund can only be accessed through the solicitation of a National Lottery funding application by us. Local authorities that are actively developing a strategic vision for their area through cross-sector collaboration, customer insight and identifying local priorities, should have already engaged us for advice and support.

At an appropriate stage of this programme, we can identify whether a project is suitable for the fund and request for an expression of interest to be submitted by an applicant.

For more information, please refer to our Strategic Facilities Fund prospectus.

How will we make this happen?

We’ve allocated circa £40 million of National Lottery funding to award through the fund during 2017-2021. Applications are invited on a solicited-only basis. Grants of between £500,000 and £2m can be considered for a standalone project, or as a contribution to a strategic plan that includes more than one project.

We recognise that some of the biggest increases in activity have been where sport can be located alongside other services, such as schools, libraries or doctor surgeries. This can provide a focal hub for the community.

This funding further supports multi-sport facilities, where families can be active in the same place, ensure year-round use and offer the best return on investment.

Testing business plans

We want to make sure that public money invested in facilities will serve local communities for many years to come. That’s why we rigorously test the business plan for any new facility.

These plans must have clear local outcomes and demonstrate not only a robust return on investment (against outcomes as well as financial) but also cost-effective operating solutions.

The research you need

Local authorities need facts to demonstrate sport and physical activity is a sound investment. That’s why we commission research and share the latest evidence on what inspires people to get active and the many benefits. Click below for more.

Know your audience

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