Sport England launch Return to Play Fund for COVID support

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Sport England launch Return to Play Fund for COVID support

Sport England has launched a new £16.5 million fund to provide additional assistance to the sport and physical activity sector during the pandemic.

Sport England has launched a new £16.5 million fund to provide additional assistance to the sport and physical activity sector during the pandemic. The Return to Play Fund will support groups, clubs and organisations who’ve been impacted by restrictions brought by COVID-19 and is part of its overall response to the crisis that now includes more than £220m of government and National Lottery funding. 

Chief executive of Sport England, Tim Hollingsworth, said the fund would particularly focus on tackling inequalities in activity that have worsened over the last six months. 

“A key priority for us has been to support our sector and all those who deliver sport and activity. The disruption we've all experienced over the past few months has been unprecedented, with the ability to be active being just one way we’ve been affected, particularly at a time when keeping active and healthy has never been more important.” 

“With ever changing restrictions and measures being put in place throughout England, there is a continuing urgent need for us to try and support grassroots organisations to put in place the necessary support to safely get everyone active in local areas over the coming months.” 

The fund, which welcomed applications this week, is made up of three parts: 

  • £10m - Small Grants: This will provide small grants to help sport and activity groups, clubs and organisations respond to the immediate challenges of returning to play in a COVID-19-safe environment, such as having to deliver in smaller groups, having the correct hygiene and safety equipment and giving training to club volunteers. 
  • £5m - Community Asset Fund: This will provide grants to help local sports clubs and organisations adapt and open important spaces that can help them welcome back their local community safely, converting existing space to meet social distancing requirements for example. 
  • £1.5 - Active Together: This crowdfunding initiative will help sports clubs and organisations set up their own campaigns to help sustain them through the crisis. The partnership with Crowdfunder will also include advice, guidance and training to help create successful campaigns. 

The Return to Play Fund especially seeks to support groups and organisations working with audiences that are finding it more difficult to be active currently, such as; Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, people on lower incomes, disabled people and people with long-term health conditions and those experiencing a greater burden of care responsibilities. 

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said the new funding would make a big difference as winter approached.  

“Local clubs offer so much to their communities and it’s hugely important that we support them to keep people fit and healthy as we head into winter. This welcome funding will enable people across the country to enjoy sport safely, boosting their mental and physical health in the months ahead.” 

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Wednesday, November 4, 2020 - 06:44

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