Applications to over-subscribed Hardship Fund for sports sector suspended but fund increased

Sports clubs across NI have been forced to close because of the coronavirus pandemic
Sports clubs across Northern Ireland have been forced to shut because of the coronavirus pandemic

Applications to a Hardship Fund for sporting clubs suffering financial problems as a result of the coronavirus crisis have been suspended after being over-subscribed.

However the initial fund of £500,000 has been increased to £750,000.

A total of 350 sports clubs and organisations have applied for financial assistance since the scheme was launched on Monday.

The Department of Communities-backed fund is being managed by Sport NI.

Applications have been suspended pending assessment of those already received.

A £2000 grant is available to successful applicants to assist with essential overheads and the costs of maintaining their facilities during the Covid-19 lockdown period.

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said: "I am aware that the level of demand for financial relief through the Hardship Fund for Sport has been exceptional with over 350 applications having been received since it opened on 14 April.

"I have previously said that, while we want to do as much as we can for the sector, we always knew that this fund would not meet the needs of everyone in the sport sector.

"In order to meet that huge scale in demand I am pleased that the initial funding of £500,000 has been increased by a further £250,000 through the reallocation of exchequer funding from Sport NI programmes.

"The level of demand for the scheme is exceptional and shows that there is a significant need across the sports sector at this time. The funding will go a long way to ensuring that clubs and organisations continue to exist, that facilities are maintained and that the sector is ready when the lockdown restrictions start to be relaxed."

The Minister added: "The success of the scheme has however financial implications and I regret that for now the scheme has had to be suspended pending the assessment of those applications that have already been submitted.

"The suspension of the scheme will be kept under review and I would hope, subject to additional funding becoming available, to be able to open the scheme again in the future."

Top Stories

Also in NI Sport