The heart of all turf sports is in our local clubs, many of whom operate with little funds, relying on the voluntary sector to deliver much of the training and coaching that keeps clubs ticking over.
Sometimes though, nothing less than extra cash will do, whether it be for kit or equipment purchase, vital pitch renovation works or to buy or hire machinery.
Despite the doom and gloom the media portray, it isn't always the case, as there are, in fact, many avenues for clubs to explore when searching out extra funds. Knowing the right place to look is often the biggest hurdle to unlock these funds though - cash that can vary greatly depending on the club's location.
Whether the funding mission is regional or national, small or large, we've aimed to condense the essential material and highlight the primary funders for turf and synthetic based sports.
There are many funding agencies, both at a national and local level, which can help your club achieve its ambitions on and off the pitch and within the local community. Essentially, funding falls into two categories: revenue support and capital support. Revenue funding covers people and programmes, whilst capital funding is for facilities and equipment.
Firstly, we'll go through the various national schemes, which, in most cases, will be applicable to all sports and often (in the case of Sport England) will be an umbrella funding agency to others.
Sportsmatch is one of the biggest avenues of funding through Sport England, which is England's largest giver of charitable donations to grassroots sports. Sportsmatch is Government funded and designed to support the development of grassroots sport in England.
They make awards to organisations running projects aimed at increasing participation in sports at community level (revenue or capital) and do this through matching commercial sponsorship money invested in community sport on a £ for £ basis, with a minimum award of £1,000 to a maximum of £50,000. Sport England have around £3m a year to award, and it's administered in England through the Institute of Sports Sponsorship - part of the European Sponsorship Association - to ensure representation and understanding of the important role of commercial sponsorship in sport.
The process is application led and competitive. Eligible applications are considered for awards by an independent panel meeting eight times a year.
Putting together a series of funding applications is the best place to start for a club of any size, but it is important that these applications are realistic, beneficial and, important of all, are likely to succeed. Sport England provides comprehensive support on how to develop an application on the funding section of their website, and it is well worth a visit.
The following bodies are funding agencies that specifically target local community projects, and can offer medium to large cash benefits.
Awards for All is a Lottery grants programme aimed specifically at local communities, and usually award grants of between £500 and £10,000.
Previously successful applications have included; coaching school/club link programmes, purchase of playing equipment, small-scale capital works, pitch improvements and equipment, training courses for club volunteers, new junior or women's sections.
The Cash 4 Clubs Grants Scheme was set up by Betfair and SportsAid to facilitate fundraising for community sports. It offers all sports clubs in the UK the chance to win grants ranging from £250 to £1,000. It is a simple scheme aimed at giving community clubs a helping hand and providing the opportunities to raise the money they need to invest in their club.
Some funds are more specific to region and location - the Coalfield Regeneration Trust, WREN and the Landfill Communities Fund are three such schemes that have wide-ranging funding abilities, but are area specific.
The Coalfields Regeneration Trust is an independent grant making body dedicated to the regeneration of the coalfield communities.
Launched in 1999, the Trust has become a key agency in promoting and achieving social and economic regeneration, supporting initiatives that help to restore healthy and prosperous communities. The Trust supports the improvement of community facilities - including the upgrade of recreational facilities - and grants are available to voluntary organisations (including community sports clubs).
The normal maximum limit in England is £200,000, and there is information available on the website on the geographical areas which are eligible for funding. Bridging the Gap is the Trust's programme offering grants from £500 to £5,000 in England and Scotland (£500 to £10,000 in Wales), to voluntary and community groups for projects that can be completed within twelve months.
A group can have one grant in any twelve-month period, and each application must be for a different activity. The application process is simple and they aim to make a decision within twelve weeks of receiving a completed application.
The main grants programme enables the Trust to make grants from £10,001 to £200,000 in England, £10,001 to £50,000 in Scotland and £10,001 to £100,000 in Wales, to voluntary, community and statutory organisations (NB. Statutory organisations can only apply for grants over £30,000).
Awards, in this case, can be for capital or revenue for up to three years or to the end of the funding programme. Different timescales apply in different countries and regional offices can give you details.
All awards are reviewed annually and continued funding is subject to the terms and conditions of the grants being met. Applicants are expected to plan and prepare for the continuation of the project beyond the period of the grant.
WREN support environmental and community-based projects in areas of England, Scotland and Wales close to Waste Recycling Group landfill sites. Projects must provide public amenities or parks; conserve biodiversity; or restore buildings for worship or which are of historic/architectural interest.
They support local causes and community activity through grants to local groups and organisations. Within these broad objectives there is some variation between foundations.
Some foundations have criteria with a focus on social need and opportunity, whilst others have more specific themes, generally reviewed every three years. Some community foundations have a large number of funds from which to make grants.They will either advise you on the most appropriate fund to apply to, or have a common application form for all their funds. The grants adviser at your local community foundation is there to help you through the application process.
The Landfill Communities Fund can prove a useful a source of money for some organisations to carry out certain types of environmental projects. A company, trust, charity or club can apply for funding for certain types of projects. Clubs can get funding from Band D, which funds projects that develop communities using recreation and sports that are within ten miles of a landfill site.
This funding can be accessed two ways. Either by going straight to a landfill operator in your area (more difficult route) or by going to an environmental body who distribute landfill tax funds. These organisations are invariably trusts and either operate on a localised or a national basis. Each has its own funding priorities, but most seem to offer support in completing the application and they can fund anywhere from £500 - £100,000.
The Biffaward Scheme is similar to the previous, and can offer money for regeneration if there is a landfill site within ten miles. If eligible, you can then enter the application process on their site.
The only slight issue with this type of funding is that some environmental bodies, which distribute funds, also require you to register with Entrust as an environmental body. Entrust, the regulatory body for the scheme, provide good support for you to do this and most clubs would have suitable constitutions to do so. The application costs £100. The Biffawards are an example of a trust that requires applicants to be environmental bodies. Other organisations, such as Eventure Ltd and Onyx Enviro Trust, do not and will help you more with the application.
One avenue often overlooked is local authority funding, either through county, city, borough, district and parish councils. Despite budget cuts, money is still out there, so it's well worth getting in touch.
Nearly all local authorities have departments dealing with the development of recreation and leisure. Substantial grants are available through county councils or city councils.
Typically, the sort of help they offer is through grants and loans to help capital projects, such as developing buildings, pitches and land purchase, revenue grants for improving or restoring existing property, purchasing equipment or running major sports development initiatives or participating in sports kite marking schemes, and grants for talented performers to help towards the cost of competition or training.
Whilst not strictly grant aid, local authorities can help reduce the burden of overheads through Rate Reduction Relief, especially for registered charities, Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) and, in some instances, special clubs.
The CASC scheme was established after prolonged campaigning by the Central Council for Public Recreation (CCPR) and its members.
The scheme enables grass-roots sports clubs to register for 80% mandatory rate relief and to claim Gift Aid on certain types of donation made to them. More than 4,000 sports clubs have registered as CASCs and claimed savings of over £20m. CCPR is still working hard on CASCs - both to promote the scheme to clubs that haven't yet joined, and to strengthen the benefits of membership. More information can be found at www.cascinfo.co.uk, a site CCPR has developed to provide the definitive information portal about the scheme.
The National Association of Councils for Voluntary Service (NACVS) may be of help to clubs looking for support in accessing funds. It is a growing network of 350 Councils for Voluntary Service and other local voluntary and community infrastructure organisations throughout England, which help to promote voluntary and community action by supporting member CVS and by acting as a national voice for the local voluntary and community sector. Most local CVS can support local clubs with identifying and applying for local funds to support capital and revenue projects.
Websites of general interest, all of which will have links to funding information
Awards for All - www.awardsforall.org.uk
Biffaward - www.biffaward.org
Cash4Clubs - www.cash-4-clubs.com
The Coalfields Regeneration Trust - www.coalfields-regen.org.uk
WREN - www.wren.org.uk/apply
The Landfill Communities Fund - www.entrust.org.uk/home/lcf
Sport Aid - www.sportsaid.org.uk
Sport England Sportsmatch - www.sportengland.org/funding/sportsmatch
The following links will take you to web based groups that can help your club locate suitable avenues of funding:
• Funderfinder - www.funderfinder.org.uk works on effective working of charities and charitable purposes by voluntary and community groups through the provision of advice, education and training relating to achieving appropriate funding for charitable purposes
• Grantsnet website - www.grantsnet.co.uk - a tool to find grants information
• Access Funds - www.access-funds.co.uk - aims to provide the latest funding information from Government, National Lottery, charitable trusts, and the EU, and also contains directories of funding programmes and guides to funding
• National Government Funding - www.governmentfunding.org.uk - availability of government grants for voluntary and community organisations by be checked on this site. It gives details of possible grants from a number of Government Departments including Health; the Home Office; Education and Skills; and Transport
• Charity Choice - www.charitychoice.co.uk - an encyclopedia of charities online
• Funding Information - www.fundinginformation.org - detailed news and information about new sources of funding for all those involved in raising money for not-for-profit organisations throughout the UK
• Association of Charitable Foundations - www.acf.org.uk - membership association for trusts and foundations in the UK with over 300 members ranging in size from small and local grant-makers to some of the world's largest foundations
• Sponsorship Advisory Service - www.sponsorship-advice.org.uk - advice on how to manage sponsorship relationships
• Central Council for Physical Recreation - www.ccpr.org.uk - national alliance of governing and representative bodies of sport and recreation, they run various campaigns which might benefit community clubs