COMMUNITIES Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has announced the reopening of the Sports Hardship Fund.
Already more than £1M of Sports Hardship funding has helped over 500 sports clubs to maintain the facilities they own or lease during the Covid restrictions.
The Sports Hardship Fund will open via the Sport NI website today and clubs and sporting organisations will be able to submit applications for support up to £2,000 if it is their first Sports Hardship Fund application.
This third round of funding will help sports clubs that are experiencing hardship due to the increased costs of ‘block booking’ facilities they hire.
Minister Ní Chuilín said: “We recognised that there are sports clubs that currently hire their facilities and were not able to apply for the first two rounds of the Sports Hardship Fund.
“As some of the lockdown restrictions have eased, clubs have been able to resume their sports in a phased and sensible manner. However, this has brought with it additional costs not previously experienced e.g. additional cleaning charges and a reduced income due to the limited numbers of participants. This grant will go a long way to support such clubs, which play a vital role in our communities in terms of physical and mental wellbeing, as they return to sport."
Other sports clubs and organisations which have previously received the grant, and are still experiencing hardship, can apply for a further £1k from the Sports Hardship Fund.
Antoinette McKeown, CEO, Sport NI, said: “We recognise the great work clubs and sporting organisations have been doing to support our communities during the Covid-19 pandemic. We also understand the financial hardship they are facing, along with a significant loss of essential income. Sport has a more vital role than ever to play in our communities. It is imperative therefore that we support our clubs and sporting organisations to not only survive, but emerge stronger from this pandemic to support our communities’ wellbeing.
“As we move into the winter months, the sporting sector has told us that the hire of indoor facilities for training is another essential element which now needs to be considered for support. We want to ensure that sports clubs and organisations can continue to operate under Covid restrictions throughout the winter months”.
Eligibility criteria will apply and will be set out in Sport NI’s application web page here www.sportni.net/funding/our-funding-programmes/sports-hardship-fund