We’re delighted to announce that our England Athletics Club Improvement Fund is back for 2023. This grant programme has been set up to help clubs support athletes and runners of all abilities and backgrounds to achieve their potential and have a lifelong love of the sport.
A few months ago, we visited Yeovil Olympiads Athletics Club (YOAC), one of the Fund’s recipients from the previous year. During the club visit, we were able to watch the training sessions, hear about the fantastic reward and recognition scheme of volunteers and learn more about the club’s relationship with the local council. Read more about our club visit.
During the visit, we also caught up with club chairman, Geoff Cole, who spoke to us about what the money from last year’s Club Improvement Fund meant to them and how they have used it to improve athletics and running for both the club and the region.
A long-term investment
As is the case with many clubs, YOAC are constantly trying to strike the balance between keeping the cost of membership fees low enough so that the sport is as accessible as possible but at the same time ensuring the club continues to be sustainable. So, when the club treasurer pointed out the Club Improvement Fund, it was an easy decision to apply.
Over the past few years, Yeovil Olympiads has received some complaints about starting pistols from neighbours. It was for this reason that the club applied for the Club Improvement Fund with the specific intention of looking to invest in a new electronic start system. Supported by England Athletics Club Support Manager for the Region, Richard Ayling, the club submitted an application to the panel with this new system as the focus.
Having now been successful and received the funds, Geoff Cole, said:
“We were delighted when we received the Club Improvement Funds from England Athletics. The majority of the money has gone into providing the club and the region with an electronic start system. Having an electronic start system will allow us to take the issue of noise pollution out of the equation and it is something we really look forward to using in the summer.”
After the visit, Richard Ayling said:
“The Club Improvement Fund is a fantastic opportunity for clubs to gain access to additional funding and to put the money towards enhancing the experience of athletes at the club. I am delighted that Yeovil Olympiads was one of the recipients of the grant last year as they have gone above and beyond to look after athletes. This was highlighted with their innovative approach to competition as we exited Covid-19 restrictions.
“They have also provided great experiences for volunteers and actually had two winners at last year’s Regional Volunteer Awards. With nominations now open for 2023, we hope to receive submissions from clubs with a similar outlook on looking after volunteers. Find full details about the awards.
“Finally, it is great to see a club like Yeovil Olympiads making fantastic use of the funding award from England Athletics. I am sure all of the club members, along with others in the South West, will benefit from the fantastic start system that has been put in place for competitions this summer and beyond.”
How to apply
The England Athletic’s Club Improvement Fund is open to clubs throughout the year. To apply for up to £500 of funding, all you have to do is submit an application form via our website. Once you have submitted your application form, you will be supported by a Club Support Manager who will ensure your application is ready to be presented to the funding panel for assessment. This year, these panels are planned for mid-July 2023, end of September 2023 and mid-January 2024.
Good luck to all clubs applying for funding in this round of the Club Improvement Fund!Find out more about the Club Improvement Fund