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Amount of emergency funding handed out to grassroots sport hits £8m

By Tom Walker    30 Apr 2020
Lockdown conditions have had a significant impact on grassroots sports – particularly for those with cash-generating facilities which are no longer able to open their doors / Shutterstock

Grassroots sports clubs and organisations in England have received a total of £8m worth of funding from the Community Emergency Fund, set up to help with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Launched and managed by Sport England, the emergency fund has already secured the futures of more than 2,000 sports clubs and community organisations struggling with the lockdown.

The £20m Community Emergency Fund is part of Sport England's larger £195m package of support set up in response to the current crisis.

Lockdown conditions have had a significant impact on grassroots sports – particularly for those with cash-generating facilities which are no longer able to open their doors.

The areas of most immediate pressure for organisations include the costs of covering rent, insurance, maintenance and utility bills.

The effects of the shutdown are clear – and demand for funding has been unprecedented.

During 2019, Sport England received 4,000 applications across all its funding programmes over the 12 months.

In the month since the launch of the Community Emergency Fund, on 31 March 2020, the organisation has already received more than 6,500 applications.

“This fund is a vital part of ensuring that grassroots organisations who might have cash-flow issues for a variety of reasons survive," said Sport England CEO Tim Hollingsworth.

“Whether an organisation needs £300 or £10,000, the Community Emergency Fund is there for those who are in need of support to navigate this difficult period.

“Sport and physical activity’s ability to bring individuals together and to unite communities will be of critical importance to our nation once the restrictions of lockdown begin to be lifted."

One of the organisations to have received help from the emergency fund is the Emerald Centre in Leicester, which received a £10,000 grant.

The centre helps more than 10,000 people take part in sport and physical activity every year and is used seven days a week by people of all ages.

Among activities, the centre is home to eight sports teams.

Tony Cusack, the centre’s manager, said the £10,000 grant was a "lifeline" for the organisation.

“Without this funding, it would have been very difficult to continue to do what we do once this is over," Cusack said.

"Our reserves are diminishing without our regular income and this grant has been crucial for us as we try and recoup some of the funding we’ve missed out on while being closed.”

Coronavirus  COVID-19  Sport England 
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