Sport England has topped up its Community Emergency Fund by an additional £15 million of National Lottery money to meet the demand from organisations delivering community sport and physical activity.
The initial £20m fund, also supported by The National Lottery, was launched at the end of March as a rapid response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the ensuing social distancing guidelines and the stay at home order, and their impact on sport and exercise.
It provides awards from £300 to £10,000 to clubs and community organisations to help them with their immediate financial distress.
The fund, which is part of £600m The National Lottery is committing across the UK during the coronavirus crisis, has already helped more than 2,000 organisations by covering costs such as rent, insurance and utility bills – as well as some staff costs and maintenance of pitches and facilities.
One club to benefit from the fund is Bath Street Marine Table Tennis Club in Crosby, Liverpool, which was awarded £3,766.
The grant will allow the club to fully meet its operating costs whilst closed, putting it in a position to immediately resume its vital daily social and recreational sport amongst the local community as soon as restrictions are lifted.
Club Secretary, Graham Turner, said: “This award is a godsend. In the eight months since we opened our new building on the Marine AFC site in College Road, we have seen massive growth of interest in daytime social and recreational table tennis, especially amongst the ‘more mature’ and children.
“We will now be able to immediately resume activities as soon as restrictions are eased, which will be a positive benefit to the whole community.”
The extra £15m is available immediately to help meet the demand of the existing applications and those likely to be submitted in the coming days.
The fund will then be paused at 11.59pm on Thursday May 14, to enable assessors to process all remaining applications as soon as possible.
Sport England will then reflect on the fund’s impact and consider what ongoing support clubs and community groups will need as restrictions are eased in the future.