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Financial support for flood-damaged facilities

Our Return to Play Fund is now open to applications from local authorities, leisure operators and other not-for-profit organisations needing funding to repair flood damage.

10th February 2021

Emergency flood relief funding is being made available to community sports clubs and not-for-profit organisations to help them restore flood-damaged facilities.

Organisations from the areas worst affected by recent flooding caused by Storms Christoph and Darcy are now eligible to apply to our Return to Play Fund, which has been bolstered by the addition of a targeted flood relief option.

While the effects of the recent flooding are still being assessed, we want to ensure sport and physical activity facilities aren’t forgotten and are ready to open when lockdown restrictions are eased.

A flooded playing field.

“This flooding has added another significant obstacle for clubs and operators of facilities to overcome in order to facilitate a safe return to play, just at a time when it was least needed," said Charles Johnston, our executive director of property.

“By adding a flood relief option to the Return to Play Fund, we hope to make it easier for organisations to recover from yet another setback and be ready to welcome back participants when restrictions ease to allow for the reopening of sport and physical activity facilities.

“Community sports facilities play a vital role in the physical and mental wellbeing of their participants and now, more than ever, we want them to be able to fulfil that role when allowed to do so.”

Focus areas

We’re focusing on areas we know to be the worst affected and will keep this list under regular review.

Applications from other areas may be considered, but this will be done on a case-by-case basis.

At present, the list of worst affected areas comprises of:

  • Bedfordshire
  • Berkshire
  • Cheshire
  • Gloucestershire
  • Greater Manchester
  • Lancashire
  • Merseyside
  • Oxfordshire
  • Nottinghamshire
  • Yorkshire
  • Worcestershire.

The chief executive officer of Active Gloucestershire, Tom Beasley, welcomed news of the funding, and hopes facilities can be back up and running for when they’re allowed to reopen.

“Whilst tackling coronavirus remains the nation's priority, we know flood waters can cause significant damage to sports pitches, pavilions, changing and social facilities,” he said.

“It’s important that we provide hope to the clubs, players and volunteers whose facilities are flooded that they will return to play, in the not too distant future.

“The impact of localised floods is far reaching and we welcome Sport England’s timely intervention to offer support to help clubs plan remedial works to enable them to return to play, when safe to do so.

“In these challenging times we urge clubs to follow the web guidance on recovering flood-damaged facilities.”

Who can apply?

Your organisation can apply if you’re:

  • a public body such as a local authority, parish or town council, or education establishment (you’ll need to provide £:£ matched funding)
  • a not-for-profit voluntary group or sports organisation
  • a not-for-profit community club or organisation
  • a registered charity
  • a not-for-profit company
  • a community interest company or other social enterprise
  • a leisure operator operating a single site.

What can funding be used for?

The grants could be used to restore grass and artificial pitches, to repair and decontaminate flooded clubhouses, replace damaged electrical systems or to clear blocked drains.

Other expenditures could include the hire of skips, pressure hoses or dehumidifiers – but only for use when safe to do so.

Football projects offered as part of a multi-sport site are eligible to apply.

What won't we fund?

We won’t provide funding to cover the loss of income or bar stock etc., as we’re currently in a national lockdown that precludes people from taking part in sports activities.

Routine maintenance and repairs resulting from wear and tear will also not be covered.

We won’t fund football-only projects as we already directly fund the Football Foundation, which funds a range of football projects. If you have a football-only project, we suggest contacting your county football association.

How do I apply?

Please note, this fund will be paused to new applications from 5pm on Friday 30 April. Any applications which have been started, can't be submitted after this time.

Your application method will depend on the amount you’re applying for.

  • If you need £10,000 or less, please use our Small Grants application portal.

Apply for £10,000 or less

  • If you need £10,001 or more, please use our Community Asset Fund application portal.

Apply for £10,001 or more


We’ll need you to submit a photo of your flood-damaged facility with your application.


We aim to give you a decision in three weeks.

Need assistance?

If you’re unsure of the requirements of the fund, or need assistance with your application, please call us on 03458 508 508, or email us.

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