Small grants scheme makes big impact

Grassroots football clubs in England who need support to open their doors to new members have been encouraged to apply for Sport England funding.

The government agency has revealed that more than 2,500 local sports projects have benefited from its Small Grants fund to get more people playing sport since April 2010.

A basketball club in Nottingham and a cycling club in Manchester were among the 57 bidders to learn this month that they’ll receive National Lottery money to improve the sport on offer in their community.

The success rate for Small Grants applicants this year is higher than ever at 74 per cent.

Small Grants provide up to £10,000 of Lottery funding to local sport groups that want to get more people involved in sport.

Southwark Navigators Club received £2,600 to buy an orienteering timing kit that has helped the club introduce more people to the sport - an investment that has made a real difference, according to club organiser Linda Cairns explains.

“The kit that the grant paid for has been used by thousands of people of all ages," said Cairns. "Once we had got the kit we started taking it into schools and running sessions at the weekend for people to try orienteering for the first time and it’s proved really popular. We had 90 people at one session.”

In total £17.94 million has been awarded to 2,524 projects through Small Grants over the past two-and-a-half years.

“While our larger investments tend to grab the headlines, we’re proud that most projects we fund are the small, local clubs that are the heartbeat of community sport in England,” said Sport England Chair, Richard Lewis.

“There is several million pounds of lottery money still to invest through Small Grants this year, so we really want to hear from organisations that need support to open up more sporting opportunities for their community.”

Clubs interested in applying for funding can find out more on the Sport England website.

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