We’re making up to £195 million of funding available to help the sport and physical activity sector through the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis.
The package, which is a combination of National Lottery and government funding, is made up of the following:
- A £20 million Community Emergency Fund, which will be opened immediately for clubs and community organisations to bid into. Grants between £300 and £10,000 are available
- A £5 million pot for existing partners to bid into if they're facing specific financial difficulty
- An additional £55 million to support our sector during an ongoing period of restrictions, to fund new and innovative ways to keep people active and, when the period of restrictions is over, to help organisations get back to business and adjust to a different environment
- A £115 million rollover of current funding into 2021/22 to give long term certainty to over 100 well established partners who play a vital role in the delivery of sport and physical activity in England.
Alongside this, given cashflow concerns in the sector, we’ve also agreed to consider requests to release six months of the coming year’s funding (50% of awards) to our partners, meaning additional funding will be available sooner.
The package follows our recent decision to offer major flexibilities to those who currently receive funding – including the ability to change timings, key performance indicators, targets and conditions, and redirect money to new activity in response to coronavirus.
Our chief executive Tim Hollingsworth said he hoped the package would help the sector get through these “extremely challenging times”.
“Sporting events are being cancelled, gyms and leisure centres are closed, clubs and community groups are not operating, and children and young people are all at home," added Tim.
“This is impacting the sector financially in a significant way, although it is heartening to see huge amounts of innovation and agility, with many operators getting classes online in a matter of days to enable home workouts for example.
“As the body responsible for the growth of sport and physical activity at a grassroots level, we have an important role to play both in ensuring that we support those with short term cashflow concerns and immediate loss of income, as well as those facing medium and long term survival challenges and financial difficulties.
“We want the sector not just to come through this crisis but to be in a position to thrive again in the future and this package will ease the pressure on a huge number of the organisations who are central to that.”
We want the sector not just to come through this crisis but to be in a position to thrive again in the future
Sport England chief executive
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, said everything is being done to support the sport sector and keep Britain active through these challenging times.
"This multi-million-pound package of public funding will not only help local sports clubs facing financial concerns but also encourage people to stay fit at home," he added.
"When it is safe to do so, we want our brilliant community sport organisations to bounce back and we will work alongside Sport England and others to make that happen.”
We’re also working closely with local authorities and the organisations who run their leisure facilities and have been supporting this part of the sector to access the government support now available.
We’ll continue to work to consider what support is needed during this period of closure, as well as the remobilisation phase where facilities will reopen.
About the package
£20m Community Emergency Fund
This aims to deliver immediate funding to those most in need and builds on the success of similar previous funds such as our Flood Relief Fund.
It's specifically targeted at organisations, including those not currently supported by us, who have a role in supporting the nation to be active but who are experiencing short-term financial hardship or the ceasing of operations due to the impact of coronavirus. Organisations can apply for grants between £300 and £10,000.
The types of organisations eligible include local sports clubs forced to close at short notice but who are facing ongoing costs around maintenance and utility bills, and voluntary and community sector organisations who deliver or enable sport and physical activity.
A specific example might be a grant to support a local boxing club pay costs for their facility when no activity is taking place, or a grant to support a league who have paid for equipment to run a competition which has now been cancelled.
£5m Sector Partner Fund
We’ll work with our sector partners, for example our network of Active Partnerships and national governing bodies, on bespoke measures that may be needed for any instances of immediate financial distress.
This might include, for example, supporting a national governing body where they've had to cancel an event which would have generated vital income for the organisation.
£55m sector stimulation
We believe financial support will be needed to support and stimulate the sector while restrictions are being lifted, and that organisations will need help getting back to business and back to delivery.
We also want to make sure we can quickly adapt to changes in the way society operates and that we can quickly accelerate good ideas where they emerge. Support may also be needed to re-engage front line staff, coaches and other volunteers to be ready to respond as activity habits return or change.
Details on how we propose to use this funding to support the sector for issues like this will be set out in the coming weeks.
£115m funding rollover for key partners
This will be for identified selected partners who have funding commitments that end on or before March 2021.
It will be administered through a ‘light touch process’ that does not add extra burden at this challenging time.
This will result in certainty of funding for well over 100 partners for the next two years and will allow these organisations to focus on the longer-term response to the enormous challenge that the sector now faces.
The partners likely to be included here are established governing bodies, Active Partnerships and wider sector partners who play a pivotal role in getting and keeping the nation active.
We’ll get in touch directly with relevant partners to confirm next steps in the coming weeks.