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Football clubs survive thanks to emergency relief fund

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For St Asaph City FC, Covid-19 was one disaster after another. In February, the pitch found itself underwater after the River Elwy burst its banks. The changing rooms, kitchen and storeroom also suffered major flood damage.

“Storm Ciara had a potentially devastating effect on our pitch and facilities,” explains John Roberts from the club. “While the mud and silt had been removed from our pitch, a great deal of work was still required to return it to its previous condition.”

Thanks to Sport Wales’ Emergency Relief Fund, supported by Welsh Government, that work has now been completed.

The pitch at St Asaph City FC after Storm Ciara hit
The pitch at St Asaph City FC after Storm Ciara hit

Meanwhile, other football clubs across Wales – left struggling to pay their bills during the lockdown period – are also breathing a sigh of relief.

Fishguard Sports AFC was successful in its application for a grant and are ploughing it into the cost of pitch maintenance which includes reseeding, fertilising and sanding. 

Owen Duggan explains how Covid-19 has affected the club’s financial situation: This has made a huge difference to our club which has lost in the region of £4500. We really thank Sport Wales for a very quick turnaround on this grant. This really will ensure the future of the club is safe from a financial perspective and we just await the end of this horrible pandemic so all of our teams are back out on the pitch with smiles on their faces.”

The spring and summer seasons are busy periods for sports clubs, and are a time in which many undertake the majority of their fundraising activity. Penycae FC, near Wrexham, for example, ordinarily generates the bulk of its income between March and June.

“Unfortunately, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, all our events that we had planned were cancelled and our clubhouse was closed,” explains Colin Jackson from the club. “We were fortunate we were able to cancel or suspend a lot of monthly bills which was a relief but there were still some that we had to pay. 

“With no income at all at the moment, our successful grant application thankfully has enabled us to pay these bills over the next few months and not leave us using our reserves which will be needed over the winter months when it is far more difficult to generate income.”

St Asaph City's pitch
St Asaph City's pitch today

New funding to help protect and prepare Welsh sport

St Asaph City FC, Fishguard Sports AFC and Penycae FC were among more than 300 community clubs and organisations that shared over £600k of Emergency Relief Funding from Sport Wales, supported by Welsh Government. 

To help protect even more community clubs and organisations across Wales, and enable them to prepare for sporting life alongside Covid-19, we’ll be announcing major new funding on Tuesday 7 July. Make sure you’re kept fully informed by signing up for our Be Active Wales newsletter!  

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