While lockdown has put grassroots sport on pause again, hundreds of clubs across Wales are busilypreparing for life beyond Covid-19 by applying to Sport Wales’ Be Active Wales Fund.
A flurry of applications since the turn of the year has seen the total amount awarded sail through the £2m mark. Over 800 clubs have been supported by the fund so far, and more cash is still available.
Clubs are still using the fund to help them survive the pandemic, particularly with the current lockdown bringing activities to a temporary halt, but a growing number of clubs are seizing thechance to apply to the ‘Progress’ stream of the Be Active Wales Fund so that they can offer even better sporting opportunities in the future.
Clubs can apply for grants of between £300 and £50,000, and Sarah Powell, Chief Executive of Sport Wales, said: “Although we all have to be patient for now, and wait for when it’s safe for sport to resume, it’s a great time for clubs to start thinking about more positive times that are on the horizon, particularly with the vaccination programme underway.
“Sport can play a really important role in helping Wales to recover from the pandemic, so it’s exciting to see the way in which clubs are identifying opportunities to improve their offer, bring theircommunities together, and put smiles back on people’s faces.
“However, clubs aren’t only looking at what they can do to improve the experience for their existing members. They are also considering how they can reach new audiences, and that’s absolutely vital.
“There are certain groups, such as children and older people, who are likely to have been hit hardest by this latest lockdown in terms of the amount of exercise they’ve been able to do without their usual structured opportunities. There is also an ongoing challenge to tackle the inequalities that already existed in sports participation among women and girls, ethnic minorities, and people living in areas of deprivation.
“We want to work with clubs to tackle all forms of inequality to ensure that everyone in Wales has the opportunity to be active through sport. The Be Active Wales Fund is there to help with this, so I would encourage all sports clubs and organisations who deliver sport to consider how they might make use of the funding to create a more active nation post-Covid.”