Sport Wales has awarded £1m to help community sports clubs’ facilities become more energy efficient – saving clubs thousands of pounds while also benefiting the environment.
Fifty eight sports clubs across Wales have received an Energy Saving Grant which they’ll use towards the cost of measures that will significantly reduce their utility bills.
More than half of the clubs who successfully applied for the funding will be installing solar panels, while other uses include insulation improvements, installing energy efficient LED lighting and motion sensors, improving heating and hot water systems, as well as sustainable water sourcing.
Clubs were able to apply for grants up to a maximum amount of £25,000.
Brian Davies, CEO of Sport Wales, said: “It is really important to us that Wales has financially sustainable sports clubs that can benefit the communities they serve by providing affordable activities.
“However, many sports clubs that run premises have really struggled due to the financial impact of the cost-of-living crisis, so we are really pleased to be able to support their ideas for reducing their energy consumption which could save them significant amounts of money in both the short and long term. Furthermore, such innovations are also helping to make a contribution to the climate emergency.
“We are confident that the return on our £1m investment will be several times that amount in terms of the overall financial savings generated for clubs, helping them to keep the cost of sport as low as possible for participants.”
Among the successful applicants were Rhyl Rugby Club, who received a £20,473 grant to install solar panels which are expected to save the club approximately £4,500 per year while also reducing their carbon footprint.
Hawarden Golf Club will use their £22,996 grant to install a new system to capture and recycle rainwater so that it can be used to wash down various machinery used at the golf club such as tractors, grass cutters and buggies. This will greatly reduce the club’s reliance on mains water.
At Stow Park Lawn Tennis Club in Newport, heat is currently escaping their clubhouse faster than a Novak Djokovic serve. Thanks to their maximum £25,000 grant, they’ll upgrade their windows and doors, replace their lighting with energy efficient LEDs, buy a new hot water heater, and install solar panels together with battery storage.
Brian added: “This is the first time that we’ve ever offered an Energy Saving Grant. Based on the demand that clubs have shown to receive such support, recognising both the environmental and financial benefits of energy saving measures, we are hopeful that we will be able to award more of these grants in the future.”
The application process for the Energy Saving Grants began in summer 2023. All of the grants have been made possible thanks to a total £10.3m worth of capital funding for 2023-24 which has been allocated to Sport Wales by the Welsh Government.
Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Dawn Bowden, said: “It’s excellent to see the funding being allocated across the country to a wide range of sport clubs. With no sign of the cost of living and cost of doing business abating any time soon - it’s imperative that we help our sport clubs to become more financially sustainable for the future, so that they can continue to serve our communities and keep people active.”