Club Support Fund boosts over 100 athletics and running clubs

We are pleased to announce that £45,000 has been made available to assist more than 100 of our affiliated clubs and member bodies who have been hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Our new Club Support Fund was launched last November with the aim of helping the sport deal with the challenges of COVID-19 and the additional financial burden it has placed on athletics and running clubs. Successful applicants have started to plan or the future return of the sport by allocating their individual grants of up to £500 towards training new coaches and leaders, purchasing additional equipment and vital supplies of PPE.

The second round of our Club Support Fund - which will open in early March, and closes midday on 23 April - is themed around helping more clubs safely return from the latest lockdown and prepare for the return of training, competition and other activities. Grants up to £500 may be awarded.

We will also be launching an additional funding pot aimed at making small scale improvements to track and field facilities across the country. These Facility Improvement Grants will be between £500-£5000.

Emma Davenport, Head of Clubs and Participation at England Athletics, said:

“I am delighted that through our Club Support Fund we’ve been able to build on our continued support for affiliated clubs and member bodies during what has been an incredibly challenging period for everyone involved in the sport. It’s great that more than 100 athletics and running clubs have benefited in round one, enabling them to prepare for the safe return of training, competition and other activities. We look forward to financially supporting even more affiliated clubs and member bodies, and as a direct result their athletes, runners, volunteers, coaches, leaders and officials, as we continue to rollout the further rounds of our Club Support Fund throughout 2021 and into 2022.”

How to apply

Details on how to apply for round two of our Club Support Fund and the Facilities Fund will be announced on our website soon.

What clubs have to say following Round 1 grants

Read on for the reaction below from some of the athletics and running clubs and member bodies which were successful in round one of our Club Support Fund:

The Serpentine Club:

“Thank you. This is great news. It's the first COVID-19 grant the club has received. It means a lot to us that England Athletics is supporting us during this period.”

Marshall Milton Keynes AC:

“All of us here are very grateful for the grant of £500 from England Athletics Support Fund. These are incredibly difficult times for everyone, but we are sure, like many athletics clubs up and down the country, of how important it is for our members to train at our facilities when lockdown restrictions permit, both for their physical and mental well-being. Having some financial support from England Athletics has helped us to provide the appropriate sanitary equipment and supplies to make sure our members can train safely. Thank you England Athletics.”

New Forest Runners:

“On behalf of us all, may I thank England Athletics for this award. I think the most difficult time for the club will be the next six months, and this award helps. The last year has been one of the toughest in the club's thirty year history. All our planned events, activities and races have had to be postponed or adapted to the restrictions imposed by COVID-19. Some members, both seniors and juniors, have let their membership lapse, more have disengaged from the club.  Coaches and leaders have been kicking their heels waiting for an opportunity to get more involved in club life again. Yet during lockdown we have seen more people out running than ever before. Being able to exercise once a day seemed to inspire families to give running a try.”

BRJ Run and Tri:

“We have been thinking of how to get up and running when restrictions are eased. England Athletics Club Support Grant provides a chance for the club to welcome everyone back to running, meet old friends and make new ones.  The grant will fund a weekend Festival of Running. When the time is right, we will welcome everyone with a range of running activities and workshops. A chance to have fun, catch up and eat cake.  For many, running has helped to get through some difficult months. Our Festival of Running will able us to bring the joy of running together back to our community.”

Paddock Wood AC:

“Small clubs such as ours with modest income and a training track which needs regular maintenance find the current restrictions on organised sport and the associated reduction of income quite trying, financially. The support that England Athletics offers us with this grant is most welcome and indeed, vital.”

Bishop's Stortford RC:

“Many thanks for this. We are delighted that the club has been awarded the grant. It will help us put more coaches through England Athletics training courses to support our members, and also our upcoming beginner's course which is very popular in Bishop's Stortford, and a way of helping our community to be more active.”

Bideford AAC:

“Once out of Lockdown three the grant received from England Athletics will allow our junior training sessions to restart. Due to COVID-19 it has not been possible for training to take place in the usual outdoor public places. The grant will ensure we can pay for hire facilities from our local college to ensure sessions take place in a safe and secure way. Thank you, England Athletics.”

 Swinton RC:

“Many thanks for giving our application for Club Support Funding due consideration and providing for us the full grant of £500. On behalf of my fellow committee members and clubmates we are truly grateful for this award. The pandemic has obviously changed our lives in many ways, although some elite sports have continued, grassroots sport has suffered badly and this has had a negative impact on peoples' physical and mental wellbeing, After the initial lockdown, we, as a club took the decision to offer training to our members who wanted to become Run Leaders, the rationale was that when the club reopened in a COVID-19 secure setting, we could offer a better Leader/Runner ratio than we could previously. Although the club funds were somewhat depleted because of the cost involved, the strategy has really paid off. We now have a healthy number of Run Leaders, not only covering runs for our existing membership but putting us in a good position to welcome new members in readiness for the relaxation of lockdown. Looking ahead, we will be encouraging the Run Leaders to consider undertaking further coaching training to carry the club forward in the future.”

Hartlepool AC:

“The England Athletics Club Support Fund has been such an incredible help for our club development during what has been a difficult 12 months. The financial support has helped us retain volunteers as coaches and set them on their England Athletics coaching journey by undertaking coaching assistant and leadership in running qualifications. The fund has also allowed us to purchase equipment so that our training environment can stay COVID-19 secure for our members.”

Camberley & District AC:

“We are delighted to receive a grant from the England Athletics Club Support Fund. We have been unable to access our normal training track since March 2020 and this has paid for extra lighting for the playing field we have been using, meaning that more of our members can train safely."

Wolves & Bilston AC:

“On behalf of the club I would like to thank England Athletics for the £500 grant which is towards the new floodlights project for training on grass at another training venue the Fordhouses cricket club in Wolverhampton. Work has already started and when finished, and restrictions are eased, we can look at getting some details to you on how the funding has made a difference to the athletes club and community in Wolverhampton.