A new fund has been launched to support local sports clubs in Bridgend County Borough during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic as they prepare to restart activities.
The £4m Be Active Wales Fund has been provided by Sports Wales using funding from Welsh Government and repurposed money from the National Lottery. It will enable clubs to apply for grants of between £300 and £50,000 to support ongoing costs, encourage greater participation, growth and improvement, and help deliver a safe return to sport while following national governing body and Government guidelines.
The new initiative is in addition to Bridgend County Borough Council’s own Bridgend Sports Support Fund, which is providing clubs with grants of up to £1,000, and follows a recent decision by the council not to charge clubs for using outdoor sports facilities for the 2019-20 season.
The council is also providing clubs that are developing asset transfers with additional support such as pitch, green and wicket surveys, drainage improvements, capital grants to purchase maintenance equipment for green spaces and more.
Cllr Richard Young, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “The ‘Be Active Wales Fund’ from Sports Wales will provide a further lifeline to help clubs and organisations stay afloat during the pandemic, and to rebuild ready for when it is safe for activities to resume.
“The council will do everything we can to play our part in ensuring that the Be Active Wales Fund reaches those clubs and communities who need it most.
“We also intend to continue our Bridgend Sports Support fund for next year, and to make a further £75,000 available to local clubs which will primarily support mini, junior and youth teams as well as underrepresented groups.”
Sport Wales Chief Executive Sarah Powell said: “We are making every effort to help grassroots sport get through the current crisis. The Be Active Wales Fund will protect community clubs and organisations, and help them prepare for the sporting life alongside Covid-19. 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.”
Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas, added: “As more and more activities begin a phased return, this funding will play a crucial part in helping to unite our communities once more through sport and physical activity. Our grassroots sports clubs and community organisations will play a huge role in looking after the nation’s physical and mental health as we recover from this time. The caveat of a return to activity is, of course, that it will look different, and small steps will be needed as we steadily get back to some sort of normality.”
Highlighting the importance of The National Lottery’s support to communities throughout Wales, including the sport sector, John Rose, Chair of the Wales National Lottery Forum, said: “The distributors of National Lottery funding in Wales are acutely aware of the unprecedented impact that Covid-19 is having across the communities we support. We have been amazed how community groups of all types have pulled together to help out in their communities.
“As funders, we are working tirelessly to support the projects we fund and mitigate the effects as far as possible during this difficult time. We want to reassure our communities that we are still here, we’re still making awards and we’d like to thank players of The National Lottery for their ongoing support, which is enabling us to make funding available to people and communities affected by the pandemic.”
Full information about the Be Active Wales Fund, including details on how to apply, can be found at www.sport.wales/beactivewalesfund