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Sport England sets out Covid-19 financial support

by Jamie Harding, Sport England 31 Mar 15:03 BST
Youth dinghy sailing at Keyhaven Yacht Club © Mark Jardine

Sport England has today confirmed that it is making up to £195m of funding available to help the community sport and physical activity sector through the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

The package is additional to any funding support provided by the Government and is made up of the following:

  • A £20 million Community Emergency Fund, which will be opened immediately for local 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 are facing specific and immediate financial difficulty
  • An additional £55 million to support our sectors during an ongoing period of restrictions, to fund new and innovative ways to keep people active and then, 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 the cashflow concerns in the sector, Sport England has also agreed that it will consider requests to release six months of the coming year's funding (50% of awards) to its partners, meaning additional funding will be available sooner.

Sport England is also working closely with Local Authorities and the organisations who run their leisure facilities and has been actively supporting this part of the sector to access the government support now available.

The package follows Sport England's recent decision to offer major flexibilities to those who currently receive funding - including the ability to change timings, KPIs, targets and conditions, and redirect money to new activity in response to Covid-19. It has been drawn up following significant consultation with organisations across the sport and physical activity landscape in England.

Sport England CEO, Tim Hollingsworth said:

"As it is for so many others, these are extremely challenging times for the sport and physical activity sector. 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. 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 when added to the funding made available by Government this package will ease the pressure on a huge number of the organisations who are central to that."

"We know that what this funding provides is a long way still from what the sector as a whole needs, and we will continue as a matter or priority to engage with our partners and with Government so that every opportunity for support is maximised."

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, said: "We are doing everything we can to keep Britain active and support the sport sector 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.

"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."

www.sportengland.org