Sport Wales has reopened its Sport Freelancer Fund to provide more financial support for fitness instructors, personal trainers, coaches and other self-employed and freelance workers who directly deliver activities that get the Welsh public moving.
When the first phase of the fund opened in November, it provided grants of £1,500 to 346 individuals in the sector who hadn’t received any other support during the pandemic.
Now, with the current lockdown restrictions placing even greater pressure on freelancers who had already lost income during 2020, the grant amount has increased to £2,500 and the criteria has been widened in a bid to help even more people.
To be eligible, applicants need to demonstrate how they’ve lost at least £2,500 in income from activities that should have taken place in Wales since the crisis began due to contracts being cancelled or restrictions halting their work.
They can still apply if they’ve been awarded money from the self-employed income support scheme, but they won’t be eligible if they have received other Covid-19 related funding from another public body or an insurance payment for loss of income.
Applications can be submitted via the Sport Wales website from 12 noon on Thursday 21 January until 5pm on Wednesday 3 February.
Full guidance on who is eligible for the Sport Freelancer Fund, and how to apply, can be found at www.sport.wales/sportfreelancerfund
The Sport Freelancer Fund forms part of an overall £14m Sport and Leisure Recovery Package allocated by Welsh Government to Sport Wales so that sporting organisations, facilities and jobs can be protected.
Sarah Powell, the Chief Executive of Sport Wales, said: “This fund is the first of its kind in the UK for sport freelancers, and is another clear sign of the importance that Welsh Government places on sport and its ability to make a positive difference.
“There are so many hard-working individuals in Wales who make a living from coaching, running boot camps, teaching fitness classes, and doing a whole manner of other things to keep us active.
“We were delighted with the success of the first phase of this fund in November, when we prioritised getting funding quickly to hundreds of people who hadn’t received any form of financial support during the pandemic.
“By extending the criteria, we hope that the changes will enable more people to apply this time around.
“As it’s been such a challenging time for freelancers, we are also pleased to be able to increase the grant amount to £2,500. We appreciate that £2,500 won’t cover all of the financial losses that many have suffered, but we hope that this funding will go some way towards helping to ensure that these individuals can stay in the sector, continuing to use their talents to enhance the lives of others.”
Anyone who successfully applied for a £1,500 grant in November will be offered the additional £1,000 to bring them in line with the amount being made available during this phase and so there is no need for them to apply again.
The Sport Freelancers Fund is open to freelancers and self-employed workers in Wales whose work directly supports people to be active, such as sports coaches, personal trainers, fitness instructors and dance instructors. It is not available for other freelancers working in the industry such as sports writers, commentators, photographers, sports therapists and nutritionists.
Among those welcoming the Sport Freelancer Fund is Vernon Cornish, a Cardiff-based fitness instructor who said: “At the time of the first lockdown I taught some 13 group fitness classes a week and circumstances meant my income came to an end overnight. This Fund brings a huge sigh of relief not only because you can claim back some of the income lost but also because you can shed some of that anxiety about an uncertain future.”
Tara Dillon Chief Executive Officer of CIMSPA said:
"This has been an extremely challenging year for everyone in our sector, especially for the many thousands of freelance and self-employed professionals who have been impacted by Covid-19 but have been excluded from UK Government financial support.
“These are dedicated, hard-working professionals who provide an essential service to the public, and we are working with partners across the UK to find ways of providing them with some support. I am delighted that Sport Wales has been able to extend the Sport Freelancer Fund, and encourage any of our members in Wales who meet the criteria to visit the website and apply."
For further information about the Sport Freelancer Fund, please visit www.sport.wales/sportfreelancerfund.
In early February, Sport Wales will also be launching a new fund to support private providers in the sport sector. Full details will be available on the Sport Wales website soon.