Sport England has announced it will make £195 million worth of funding available for the sport and physical activity sector during the coronavirus pandemic.
The organisation says the new package comes as it has offered ‘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.
The new funding is a combination of National Lottery and government funding, and is made up of a variety of different pots, including a £20 million Community Emergency Fund for clubs and community organisations, who can receive grants between £300 and £10,000; a £5 million pot for existing partners to bid into if they're facing specific financial difficulty; an additional £55 million to support the sector during an ongoing period of restrictions and fund new initiatives to keep people active, and finally a £115 million ‘rollover’ of current funding into 2021/22.
“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," said Tim Hollingsworth, CEO Sport England.
“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.”
Sport England says it has also agreed to consider requests to release six months of the coming year’s funding (50% of awards) to its partners, which would make funding available sooner.
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, said: "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.”