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Clarbeston Road Amateur Football Club in Pembrokeshire is planning for a brighter future by using a Be Active Wales Fund grant from Sport Wales to purchase portable floodlights.

The floodlights will enable the club to have greater flexibility in terms of the times, location and frequency of training sessions. 

Steve Brown, Club Chair, outlines the club’s thinking: “Clarbeston Road is focused on providing a really good community service, giving everyone access to football. 

“Once football is given the green light to resume, the portable floodlights will free us up to run more training sessions and fun sessions, with smaller, socially-distanced groups of players. We don’t want Covid to get members out of the habit of active lifestyles.

“We’ll also use the portable floodlights to run sessions on our own pitches – ground and weather conditions permitting – rather than being restricted to using the floodlit local authority all-weather pitches. So, we’re also planning to save money on pitch hire too.”

The club has an active adult disability team - the Clarby Warriors - with many of the players having been with them since they were young. They are cautious about returning to play during Covid but, thanks to the new equipment, Clarbeston Road will be in a position to offer them dedicated sessions, without the need to share facilities with others. 

“We’ll have the flexibility to work with smaller groups, whether that is our disability team or our senior players who are eager to schedule some extra sessions,” Steve explains. 

“We’ve had some lovely feedback from parents about how their children want to get back to football as soon as possible and so working in smaller groups will be one way of facilitating this.”

The community will also benefit as they’ll be able to use the floodlights and host outdoor evening events at the club. Last year’s Christmas tractor rally with the local Young Famers Club was canned due to Covid but the club can’t wait to work with partners in the future.

Be Active Wales Fund

The £4,663 funding awarded to Clarbeston Road towards the cost of portable floodlights came from the ‘Progress’ element of the Be Active Wales Fund which provides grants of between £300 and £50,000 to support sports clubs and organisations with their future plans so that they can offer even better opportunities for the nation to be active beyond the Covid-19 crisis.

Sport Wales is particularly keen to hear from clubs who have plans for tackling inequalities in sport, such as projects aimed at increasing opportunities for black and minority groups, people with disabilities, or women and girls. Sport Wales also has a specific target of improving opportunities for people living in areas of deprivation as research suggests that these disadvantaged communities have sadly fallen even further behind in terms of participation during the pandemic.

The Be Active Wales Fund application process has been streamlined so that it is now easier for clubs to apply for the funding they need. Grants are still available to protect clubs who are facing severe losses of revenue during the current lockdown period, and to help clubs prepare to make their activities Covid secure once restrictions are eased. 

Since the pandemic began, more than 800 sports clubs and organisations across Wales have benefited from a share of over £1.8m through the Be Active Wales Fund, and more is still available for Sport Wales to distribute thanks to money from Welsh Government and re-purposed funding from the National Lottery.