Return to Play funding: COVID-19

Funding opportunities, primarily for organisations operating in IMD areas 1 - 3, to aid and support groups, clubs and organisations impacted by COVID-19 and to help get audiences back into physical activity and sport. There are three primary types of funding available:

  1. Small Grants
  2. Community Asset Funding
  3. Crowd Funding

The Small Grants are available both as capital, revenue or combination funding and typically awards between £300 and £10,000. This can be used to fund changes such as: refurbishment/reconfiguration of facilities to meet social distancing guidelines, COVID screens or safety equipment, signage or floor markings, volunteer training and new ways of delivery such as online outreach.

Community Asset Funding is available as capital funding and typically awards between £10,000 and £50,000. This funding can be used for larger or more complex facility adaptations such as converting existing spaces and creating additional changing areas, accommodation or storage for example. It may also be used for temporary changes to make improvements to enable physical activity to take placesuch as floodlights, covering outdoor areas or transforming existing facilities for example, warehouses or community centres. It may also be used for larger scale COVID developments such as ventilation or access arrangements.

Return to Play Crowdfunding will support and match up to 50% of a target to a maximum value of £10,000 for any rewards-based crowdfunding campaign being run by an organisation to aid survival during COVID-19. Crowdfunding rewards must provide an effective reach into their community, not simply activate membership. Support and resources are available from SportEngland for crowdfunding organisations.

This funding has a focus on safe return to play and narrowing inequalities in physical activity and sport. The focus is on projects that require funding to return to play following the latest second national lockdown. The organisations who will be prioritised will be those who are using the funding to work with or support

  • IMD areas 1 - 3
  • Diverse ethnic communities
  • People on lower incomes
  • Those disproportionately affected financially as a result of the pandemic
  • Disabled people and people with long-term health conditions
  • Those experiencing a greater burden of care responsibilities since the pandemic began.

General funding opportunities

Sport England

Whether you are a village club who needs to purchase extra equipment or a multi-million pound facility that hosts Olympic athletes, they have a funding programme that can help you.

Check out their range of new funding opportunities.

The National Lottery - Community Fund

The National Lottery Community Fund distributes over £600m a year to communities across the UK, raised by players of The National Lottery. They provide funding for projects Under £10,000 and different funding programmes for longer term projects over £10,000.

Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action (OCVA)

OCVA aim to find the best source of funding to enable your group to achieve its objectives.

Oxfordshire Community Foundation (OCF)

OCF provides a variety of grant programmes that help community groups and charities in Oxfordshire improve people's lives.

DCMS Youth COVID19 Support Fund

Open to grassroots youth clubs, uniformed youth groups, and national youth and umbrella organisations, it will help to mitigate the impact of lost income during the winter period due to the coronavirus pandemic, and ensure services providing vital support can remain viable.

This fund will focus on enabling the struggling, but most impactful, youth organisations to continue operating, where they may have scaled back service provision or temporarily closed due to reductions in their income following Covid-19.

Youth COVID19 Support Fund

Oxfordshire County Council

Funding for community groups - information provided on how voluntary and community organisations can find and apply for funding opportunities

The Good Exchange

If you're a charity, Community Interest Company (CIC), social enterprise or community group looking for the more effective ways to raise money, try The Good Exchange – the only on-line giving platform with access to grants, donations and fundraising in one place via a single application form.

Writing a funding bid – top tips

How do you make sure that your application stands out from the competition? How do you make sure that the time spent writing bids is fruitful and well spent? By asking yourself these questions before you begin preparing your funding bid, you'll be better prepared before you start.

  • Do you have data and insight to support your bid?
  • Can the project you're seeking funding for be delivered? Are you sure that what you are saying you'll do, can actually be delivered within your current work?
  • Will this bid win? Do you meet the funder's criteria and will your proposal stand out from others?
  • Is it financially feasible? Can you do all that needs to be done with the funds that you're bidding for?
  • Are you communicating your organisation as capable and credible, with clear and measurable aims?
  • Have you reviewed your bid from the funder's perspective? Your bid's outcomes need to be in line with the funder's. Review your bid as if you were the funder to make sure you have a good case.