Published: Monday, 26 October 2020
Sport England have launched a new £16.5 million fund to give additional help to the sport and physical activity sector during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The Return to Play Fund will support groups, clubs and organisations who've been impacted by restrictions brought in to tackle the disease, and is part of our overall response to the crisis that now includes more than £220m of government and National Lottery funding.
The 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," he added. "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 will welcome applications from now, is made up of three parts.
- £10m - Return to Play: Small Grants
- £5m - Return to Play: Community Asset Fund
- £1.5m - Return to Play: Active Together
The Return to Play Fund will especially seek to support those groups and organisations working with audiences who have been identified as finding it more difficult to be active at this time.
- Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities
- people on lower incomes
- those disproportionately affected financially as a result of the crisis
- disabled people and people with long-term health conditions
- those who are experiencing a greater burden of care responsibilities since the pandemic began.
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," he explained.
"This welcome funding will enable people across the country to enjoy sport safely, boosting their mental and physical health in the months ahead."