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Our funds

Coronavirus has hit the sport and physical activity sector hard and we know things have been tough, so we've modified our funding streams to help people safely return to play and are targeting the places that have been impacted the most.

Funding explained

Our funds landing page skating group together

Each year we invest more than £250 million of National Lottery and public money to help people play sport and take part in physical activity.

We know that applying to one of our funds for the first time can seem a little daunting, but here we’ll guide you to the appropriate fund and explain exactly what you need to do.

Find the right fund

We’ve always tried to address inequalities through our funding and particularly encourage applications for projects that support people who have poorer health outcomes and lower activity levels.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) has had an impact on everyone but our insight is showing it’s more significant in some communities/groups and the rate of recovery back to pre-pandemic levels is slower for some people.

To help support those most severely effected by the ongoing pandemic, we have a £21.5m Return to Play Fund.

When it first opened last year there were three options to this fund – Small Grants and the Community Asset Fund, which had been adapted from pre-coronavirus funds, and Active Together crowdfunding – which had been extended.

All three focused on a safe return to play and narrowing the inequalities gap in sport and physical activity.

The Community Asset Fund has now been paused to new applications, but the remaining two options continue to offer help and support.

We've also launched our Places and Spaces Fund that's part of our Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games package to help community sport and physical activity groups improve places and spaces in the West Midlands.

Tell us about you

You can use our fund chooser tool to find out which of our Return to Play funding streams your project may be elegible for. Simply answer the questions below and we'll point you in the right direction.

Please note, this only applies to our Return to Play Fund, scroll down the page for other funding options.
How would you best describe your organisation?
Is the investment you require a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic?
What do you need investment for??
Do you require investment to cover running costs (i.e. rent, bills, wages)??
Is it likely you'll be needing more than £10,000 in investment?
Do you predominantly deliver football?
How much investment are you seeking from Sport England?
Do you deliver activity that is of benefit to people living in the West Midlands?
Do you need investment for creating or improving community sport facilities?

We're currently prioritising open funding to local sports clubs, charities, community and voluntary sector organisations as well as parish and town councils.

Please visit our dedicated funding page, which provides information on other ways to generate funding.

To receive the latest news and hear about future funding possibilities, please sign up to our newsletter.

We're currently prioritising open investment to directly respond to the challenges facing the sport and physical activity sector, with additional capital investment now available to help bring communities together and celebrate the Commonwealth Games in 2022 (initially prioritising the West Midlands).

In the meantime, please visit our dedicated funding page, which provides other ways to generate funding.

To receive the latest news, please sign up to our e-newsletter.

Please call our helpline on 03458 508 508 to discuss your needs.

You can also email us at funding@sportengland.org.

Take a look at our Return to Play: Active Together fund, which is our only fund that can support football only projects.

We already directly fund the Football Foundation, which funds a range of football projects.

If you have a football-only project, we suggest contacting your FA County Association for more information.

Alternatively, take a look at our Return to Play: Active Together fund, which does support football-only projects

If your project doesn't fit into our open investment programmes, but you think it's a game changer, our short Got a Great Idea form is for you.

Please visit our dedicated funding page, which provides information on other ways to generate funding.

We do not currently have any open investment programmes that can provide more than £10,000, but our Return to Play: Active Together fund could help you achieve part of what you need, as well as help you to unlock further money from a crowd or other funders.

Please do also take a look at our dedicated page , which provides information on other ways to generate funding.

See our Return to Play: Active Together fund. Alternatively, our
Return to Play: Small Grants fund may support some organisations with a contribution towards running costs.

Our open funds

Return to Play: Small Grants

This fund makes awards, using National Lottery and government funding, of between £300 and £10,000, from a total pot of £15m, to help clubs and organisations providing sport and physical activity, respond to the immediate challenges of returning to play in a coronavirus-safe way, as well as providing new activities to get people active again as restrictions are lifted.

To assist eligible projects in the most deprived communities, we’ll also contribute up to £1,000 towards existing running costs of organisations.

This fund will close on 23 December 2021.

Return to Play: Small Grants

Return to Play: Active Together

Active Together is a crowdfunding initiative that can match fund, up to £10,000, successful Crowdfunder campaigns from a total pot of £7.5m.

With expert advice and guidance to support you, this will help local clubs and organisations to run their own crowdfunding campaigns, fundraising for things such as a loss of income due to the crisis, or any other Covid-19 related needs.

Return to Play: Active Together

Places and Spaces Fund

A £3.5 million pot with up to £10,000 available in match funding for Crowdfunder projects, as part of a Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games package to help community sport and physical activity groups improve places and spaces in the West Midlands.

Places and Spaces Fund

Other funding options

Together Fund

The Together Fund is another £20m fund that follows the Tackling Inequalities Fund, which helped reduce the negative impact of coronavirus and the widening of the inequalities in sport and physical activity.

We’re continuing to work with Active Partnerships and selected national partners to connect funding to local community organisations, who are best placed to support our priority audiences through their extensive reach and networks.

Together Fund

Strategic Facilities Fund

Our Strategic Facilities Fund is designed to support the sector to invest strategically so it delivers the outcomes essential to local communities.

This programme is not open via an application process. We work with local authorities and our expert partners to ensure the right major capital projects are in the right places to support our strategic outcomes.

Strategic Facilities Fund

Got a Great Idea?

If you could do with a little help but none of our other open funds seem applicable, then you can always just tell us your great idea.

Forget about the application process for now, simply tell us your idea - including ones to help the sport and physical activity sector through the coronavirus crisis - and we'll let you know if it's something we can help you with.

Even if we can't fund you there are other ways we can help, so let's start talking.

Got a Great Idea?

Other ways to generate funding

There are a number of other sources of funding that organisations can apply to and should consider in addition to the programmes we have available.

Find out more about the traditional sources of funding and social sector opportunities out there.

Other ways to generate funding

Closed funds

Return to Play: Community Asset Fund

This fund made awards of between £10,001 and £50,000 from a pot of £5m to help local sports clubs and organisations adapt important places and spaces to help their local community return to play safely.

This could have included contributing to covering the costs incurred by converting existing space to meet social distancing guidelines during activity, or improving a facility’s ventilation.

Please note, this fund is now closed to new applications.

Return to Play: Community Asset Fund

A group of children listen to a coach in a wheelchair

Evaluation framework

We evaluate our investment programmes to gather learning that improves outcomes for existing and future projects. Evaluation reports show and explain impact and return on investment, increase our insight and support advocacy for further sport investment.

We've designed an Evaluation Framework to help our colleagues and partners to evaluate funding streams and projects effectively, and to get maximum value from measurement and evaluation.

Evaluation framework website

Funding FAQs

Check out our FAQs if you have any questions about our funding pages. 

Funding FAQs

Claim and reconciliation forms

If you've been awarded a revenue grant you'll need to claim your funding and reconcile your expenditure.

Claim and reconciliation

Latest news

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