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Community Emergency Fund helps more than 2,000 organisations

We've already awarded £8 million of funding to sports clubs in financial trouble due to coronavirus.

The future of more than 2,000 sports clubs and community organisations have been secured thanks to the first awards from our Community Emergency Fund.

To date, we’ve awarded more than £8 million from the fund, which was set up to help groups through immediate financial hardship caused by the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Tim Hollingsworth, our chief executive, said he was “incredibly proud” that we’d been able to use National Lottery money to help so many organisations in such a short space of time.

“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,” he said.

“This fund is a vital part of ensuring that grassroots organisations who might have cash-flow issues for a variety of reasons survive.

“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.”

The £20 million Community Emergency Fund is part of our overall up to £195m package of support set up in response to the current crisis.

The funding from Sport England has been a wonderful help. It will help us to get through this difficult time and be in the best possible position to return to normal and continue to work when this is over.

Tony Cusack

Manager at the Emerald Centre

Lockdown conditions have had a significant impact on sports clubs and organisations - particularly for those with cash-generating facilities who are no longer able to open their doors, or summer activities facing short-term losses due to loss of membership fees or competition income.

The areas of most immediate pressure for organisations include the costs of covering rent, insurance, maintenance and utilities bills, while demand for funding has been unprecedented.

In 2019, we received 4,000 applications across all our funding programmes, but the Community Emergency Fund has had over 6,500 since it was launched on 31 March.

Forest Hall Young People’s Club in North Tyneside is one of the organisations to have already received an award.

The club is used by a number of sports organisations, including football and boxing classes, and would not have been able to pay their lease without our £10,000 grant.

The money will be used to pay rent, bills and the one member of full-time staff, centre supervisor Sam Corbett, during the period of closure.

A football team playing out of Forest Hall Young People’s Club in North Tyneside

“I closed our doors on that Tuesday night and I cried because I thought ‘how are we going to survive?’ We’re all extremely grateful for the grant from Sport England,” said Sam.

“It doesn’t bear thinking about what the kids would’ve done without boxing and football to come back to when this is over – we’re already hearing they’re going stir crazy now.”

Another to receive funding is the Emerald Centre in Leicester.

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 from small babies to those aged over 90.

With eight sports teams, including football and Gaelic football sides, many people rely on the site to get active.

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

“The funding from Sport England has been a great and wonderful help,” he explained. “It will help us to get through this difficult time and be in the best possible position to return to normal and continue to work when this is over.

“Without this funding it would have been very difficult to continue to do what we do once this is over. 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.”


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