Sport England’s Community Emergency Fund Set To Pause on Thursday
Sport England’s Community Emergency Fund is being topped up with an additional £15 million of National Lottery money to meet the demand from organisations delivering community sport and physical activity.
The initial £20m fund, also supported by The National Lottery, was launched at the end of March as a rapid response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the ensuing social distancing guidelines and the stay at home order, and their impact on sport and exercise.
It provides awards from £300-£10,000 to clubs and community organisations to help them with their immediate financial distress, and was part of an up to £195m package of support from them to the sport and physical activity sector, with this additional £15m taking the package up to £210m.
The fund, which is part of £600m The National Lottery is committing across the UK during the coronavirus crisis, has already helped thousands of organisations by covering costs such as rent, insurance and utility bills – as well as some staff costs and maintenance of pitches and facilities.
This extra £15m is available immediately to help meet the demand of the existing applications and those likely to be submitted in the coming days.
The fund will then be paused at 11.59pm on Thursday 14 May, to enable assessors to process all remaining applications as soon as possible.
Sport England will then reflect on the fund’s impact and consider what ongoing support clubs and community groups will need as restrictions are eased in the future.
Sport England Announces £195 million Community Emergency Fund
Sport England have announced they will be 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 cash flow concerns in the sector, they have 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.
Sport England 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.”
The area of funding which will be most applicable to the majority of clubs is the Community Emergency Fund
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 the Sport England Flood Relief Fund. This fund is specifically targeted at clubs and organisations, including those not currently supported by Sport England, who have a role in supporting the nation to be active but who are experiencing short term financial hardship or are ceasing operations due to the impact of COVID-19. Organisations can apply for grants between £300 and £10,000.
The types of organisations eligible include 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 club paying costs for their facility when no activity is taking place, or a grant to support a club who have paid for equipment to run a competition which has now been cancelled. Further details on eligibility and criteria is available on the Sport England website.