Storm Desmond: Emergency funding for flood-hit sports clubs

Flood waters swamp Carlisle Rugby Club on the city's Warwick Road Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Flood waters swamped Carlisle Rugby Club's pitch and facilities

Emergency cash is being made available for sports clubs hit by Storm Desmond.

Sport England has created a £200,000 flood relief fund to help repair pitches and facilities damaged by flood waters and strong winds.

Clubs, councils and community sports organisations in Cumbria, Northumberland and Lancashire are being invited to apply for grants of up to £5,000.

Carlisle Rugby Club chairman Keith Hall welcomed the initiative.

The team's pitch was under 8ft (2.4m) of water at the height of the floods and the club's facilities have been left "uninhabitable", he said.

"We've got a long, long road ahead of us before we are back up and running. I'd estimate a minimum of six months.

"It's a very frustrating time for everybody. We can't play rugby or train.

"Anything [in terms of emergency funding] would be very much appreciated."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Debris was strewn across the pitch at Keswick Cricket Club in the wake of Storm Desmond
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Silt covered this bowling green in Fitz Park, Keswick, after the River Greta flooded

The club's car park off Warwick Road is being used to store flood-damaged furniture and white goods from nearby homes.

"They're all people's belongings that they have worked hard for. It's so sad to see," Mr Hall added.

Sport England's grants are being made available on a first come, first served basis.

The fund is open now and interested groups can find out more on the organisation's website.

However, football clubs are being directed to the Football Foundation, which is running a separate help scheme.

Richard Johnson, senior manager of Active Cumbria, said he welcomed Sport England's "early intervention" and looked forward to "working with them to get affected clubs and facilities up and running again as soon as possible".

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