A new fund of up to £4m has been launched by Sport Wales to help grassroots sports clubs and community organisations get back on their feet.
The new ‘Be Active Wales Fund’ will provide a major source of support to protect community clubs and organisations that have been badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and help them prepare to re-start activities safely.
The grant funding has been made possible thanks to Welsh Government and repurposed money from the National Lottery, which continues to be one of Welsh sport’s biggest supporters.
During the last two months, more than £600,000 of emergency funding has already been awarded by Sport Wales to help over 300 clubs that were in immediate financial danger.
Now, thanks to the Be Active Wales Fund, more clubs can safeguard their future by applying for a grant of between £300 and £50,000.
Grassroots sports clubs and organisations at risk of folding because of the Covid-19 crisis may need funding to help pay rent, utility costs, insurances or any fixed costs they may have for facility or equipment hire.
Whereas some sports, such as golf and tennis, have begun to re-start their activities by following safety guidance published by their respective national governing bodies, others – like football and rugby – are awaiting the green light to resume.
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Community clubs and organisations will be able to apply to the Be Active Wales Fund to help them make any adaptations which are necessary to ensure activities are safe.
Sport Wales chief executive Sarah Powell said: “Grassroots sport has been hit incredibly hard. Thankfully, emergency funding has already saved a huge number of clubs, and we’re pleased to be able to launch this new fund which will provide even more support at a time when it is so badly needed.
“Our clubs and groups are crucial in keeping the people of Wales active. If they don’t stay afloat or they can’t reopen safely, we can expect another crisis – that of inactivity and ill-health.
“We must not let that happen. Clearly, clubs will need to adapt many of their activities so that they fully adhere to health guidelines and social distancing requirements. The Be Active Wales Fund will help make that possible.
“Whilst it is heartening to see the essential importance government has placed on exercise during this pandemic, research has found that many of the inequalities which already existed in sports participation have unfortunately been intensified during lockdown, notably for those living in deprived areas.
“A reduction in young people’s activity levels has been particularly worrying, so it is essential that we work with our partners such as national governing bodies and local authorities to ensure that the Be Active Wales Fund reaches those communities and groups who need it most.
“This is a collective opportunity to renew and re-imagine what sport can, should, and will have to be in the future.”