New funding needs to be start of a wider Sports Recovery Fund

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Government has today announced £100 million of funding has been allocated to a new scheme introduced to address the ongoing challenges local authority sport and leisure facilities are facing.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has confirmed that the money will be allocated for council leisure centres that are most in need. Further details on the scheme are due to be published shortly.

This financial commitment forms part of the wider £1 billion local support package confirmed by the Prime Minister earlier this month.

Lisa Wainwright, CEO of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, has responded to the announcement by urging government to make this the first step in providing more financial support to the sector as part of a comprehensive Sports Recovery Fund.

She said: “This is very welcome news and I’m pleased that the government can see the immense value of the leisure sector to our nation’s physical and mental wellbeing.

“While it is great to see that this extra money will be ring-fenced to protect physical activity, it is just as important to ensure that the public are actually able to use these facilities during the difficult months ahead.

“Data has shown that leisure facilities have an extremely low level of transmission of COVID-19 and it is critical that our local facilities are kept open during increased restrictions to allow every community to access this vital service in the fight to overcome this virus.

“Despite this injection of money, we should be under no illusion that big challenges lie ahead and the future of physical activity in our country remains in a perilous situation.

“Community clubs are on their knees and without emergency funding, there is a real fear that we will lose many of our beloved local sport and recreation institutions.

“This is why the Alliance and ukactive, with the support of over 160 sport and physical activity organisations, signed a letter sent to the Prime Minister last month and we eagerly await a reply from his office.

“We will continue to fight for extra financial support for the sector, along with taxation and regulatory relief to protect the future of grassroots physical activity as part of the #SaveOurSports campaign.

“Today’s money represents just the tip of the iceberg of what’s required to avoid a crisis in community sport, and we look forward to working constructively with government to find a long-term solution.”