Community sports clubs must tap into the excitement prompted by the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, according to Made by Sport CEO Sophie Mason, as the charity announces that £1.79 million has been distributed through its ‘Clubs in Crisis’ fund in its first three months.
The ‘Clubs in Crisis’ fund, a partnership between Made by Sport and Cash4Clubs, funded by Flutter Entertainment with a donation of £4.79m, has supported hundreds of sports clubs across the UK already.
Launched in April 2021, the ‘Clubs in Crisis’ fund is open to local sports organisations that aim to deliver positive social outcomes for young people. To qualify, clubs must have turnover of less than £75,000 and demonstrate that they are focused on using sports as a social development tool.
By focusing on supporting clubs that use sport for social outcome, rather than sporting excellence, the fund is the first of its kind on a national scale. Through its partnership with UK Community Foundations (UKCF) as grant distributor, the ‘Clubs in Crisis’ fund represents a new approach that aims to create networks and gain fresh perspectives into supporting what has been a traditionally hard to reach sector.
Made by Sport CEO Sophie Mason said: “We saw during the Olympic Games that sport really does inspire the nation, particularly given the success of Team GB even though the events took place thousands of miles away in another time zone.
“What we want to do now is ensure that community clubs tap into this inspiration to help young people – and we know that 65% of the grants we have distributed are to organisations helping young people with their mental health (21%) and supporting the development of life skills (45%).”
Recent research has underlined the devastating impact the pandemic has had on young people – with 83% admitting that the pandemic had affected their mental health, reporting issues with sleep, panic attacks and urges to self-harm.
Research conducted by Newton for Made By Sport in 2020 revealed that before the pandemic, over 40% of local community sports clubs were either in deficit or just breaking even, with the pandemic putting over 25% of community clubs at risk of permanent closure.
Justin King, Chairman of Made by Sport added: “After an unprecedented 18 months and with schools having to close their doors, young people have really felt the brunt of the pandemic, and support is needed now more than ever for clubs across the country – as shown by the sheer volume of grants made in such a short space of time.
“Access to sport can be life-changing for young people both mentally and physically and contribute towards better life outcomes. I’m delighted that our partnership with Cash4Clubs is already making such an impact.”
The #ClubsInCrisis fund is offering unrestricted grants of £2021 to community clubs playing an essential role in helping young people to recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic with particular focus on developing life skills such as teamwork and communication, employability skills, and support physical and mental wellbeing.
Peter Jackson, Group CEO of Flutter Entertainment plc, said: “It’s fantastic to see that this funding is reaching those clubs that really need it. The response that Made By Sport has received demonstrates the clear need for this type of funding and I hope that this inspires others to get involved so that we can strengthen the new support networks we are building for this hard to reach sector.
“There is still some way to go to distribute Flutter’s donation in full and we will continue to work closely with Made by Sport and its partners to ensure it reaches clubs that are delivering a real difference to the lives of young people in the local communities they serve.
“If we lose community sports clubs, we lose an incredibly valuable means of teaching young people social and life skills beyond school and I want to see more clubs coming forward to take advantage of the funding we have made available this year.”
Community clubs can apply for funding via www.madebysport.com/clubsincrisis