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

The Return to Play Fund will support groups, clubs and organisations which have been impacted by restrictions brought in to tackle the virus and is made up of three parts:

Small grants (£10m): Providing grants of £300 to £10,000 to help sport and activity groups and clubs to respond to the challenges of returning to play in a covid-safe environment. This could cover such things as hygiene and safety equipment, training for volunteers, additional equipment and signage.

Community Asset Fund (£5m): Provide grants of £10,001 to £50,000 to help local sports clubs and organisations to adapt and open important places and spaces that can help them welcome back their local community safely. This could include improving ventilation or converting existing space to meet social distancing guidelines.

Active Together (£1.5m): A crowdfunding initiative to help sports clubs and organisations set up their own campaigns to help sustain them through the crisis, with Sport England matching crowd funds up to £10,000 to help cover the loss of income.

Applications are open from today. Click here to find out more or make an application.

Table Tennis England staff are available to help with applications or provide advice. If you would like help, please contact us via [email protected] or get in touch with one of our Club Support Officers.

Table Tennis England is also planning to release another round of funding for clubs and leagues and will make an announcement in the near future. We are also part of the Sports Recovery Fund campaign which is calling for emergency government support for the sports sector, similar to the £1.57 billion support package given to the arts sector.

Since the start of the pandemic, Sport England has made more than £220m of government and National Lottery funding available to support the sector.

Sport England Chief executive, Tim Hollingsworth, said the new 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 Return to Play Fund will especially seek to support those groups and organisations working with audiences identified as finding it more difficult to be active at this time.

These include 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.