Covid-19: Funding Sources

As well as its direct public health impacts, the covid-19 outbreak has presented real financial challenges to London’s grassroots physical activity and sport organisations. In response, a number of public funders are making available new funding packages to provide support and assistance to physical activity and sport bodies, and the wider charitable sector.

This page contains a selected list of major funding sources that have been launched in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Sport England Covid-19 Funding

Community Leisure Recovery Fund

The Community Leisure Recovery Fund (CLRF) aims to support community-run leisure facilities in England with £5 million of National Lottery investment to assist the reopening and recovery of their services.

It’s an open fund that will be allocated over a single funding round in April and is to cover the period from 1 April to 30 September 2021.

The maximum grant available is £50,000.  The application window will open at noon on 6 April and close at noon on 29 April 2021.

Return to Play: Small Grants

This Sport England fund will make awards of between £300 and £15,000, from a total pot of £10m, to help sport and activity groups, clubs and organisations respond to the immediate challenges of returning to play in a coronavirus-safe way.

Sport England has changed the criteria for this, in line with the current lockdown measures:

  • Organisations based in Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) decile 1-5 can now include ongoing running costs as part of their application – for example rent, utilities and insurance. This is capped at a maximum of £3,000 and will only be considered with an eligible funding request.
  • Eligible organisations/activities in IMD decile 6-10 locations can apply to the Return to Play: Active Together (crowdfunding option), to seek support towards running costs.
  • Flexibility over start date – activity resumes within six weeks of national/local lockdown restrictions being lifted.
  • The programme will remain open up to 30 June 2021.

Return to Play: Community Asset Fund

Sport England’s second Return to Play fund will make awards of between £10,001 and £50,000 to help local sports clubs and organisations adapt and open important places and spaces to help their local community return to play safely.

Decisions on awards will be guided by Sport England’s current funding priorities:

Highest priority

  • Projects located in areas of high deprivation, including rural areas (decile 1-3 of the Indices of Multiple Deprivation).  To see which decile your project location fits into, you can use this postcode checker.  Projects not delivering within IMD 1-3 should consider Return to Play: Active Together (crowdfunding initiative).

Other funding priorities

  • Organisations working with Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, people on lower incomes, disabled people, people with long-term health conditions and people experiencing a greater burden of care because of coronavirus.
  • Organisations that don’t have a significant level of reserve funding available to utilise.

Return to Play: Active Together

Active Together is a crowdfunding initiative that can match fund, up to £10,000, successful Crowdfunder campaigns for things such as a loss of income due to the crisis, or any other covid-19 related needs.

Other Funding

The National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF)

National Lottery Awards for All

A quick way to apply for smaller amounts of funding between £300 and £10,000.  Rolling deadline.

Reaching Communities

This programme offers a larger amount of funding (over £10,000) for projects that last up to five years.  TNLCF are looking for projects that work with their community – whether that’s a community living in the same area, or people with similar interests or life experiences.  Rolling deadline.


This programme offers a larger amount of funding (over £10,000) for organisations that work together with a shared set of goals to help their community thrive – whether that’s a community living in the same area, or people with similar interests or life experiences.  Rolling deadline.

Growing Great Ideas

This funding supports ideas that focus on supporting transformational and long-term change that goes beyond individual organisations and instead focuses on nurturing ecologies and ecosystems.

The minimum grant size is £150,000.  The minimum length is two years.  Funding can be available for up to ten years in some circumstances.  There’s no deadline for applications.

Bringing People Together

This funding can support projects will build stronger connections across communities, and improve the infrastructure and conditions that are needed to strengthen these connections.

Grant funding is available up to £300,000 in total for up to two years.  There’s no deadline for applications.

BBC Children In Need Small and Large Grants Programme

BBC Children in Need is seeking applications for its Small and Large Grants Programme to make differences in children’s lives that help prevent or overcome the effects of the disadvantages they face. Not for profit organisations can apply for up to £10,000 per year (small grants) and up to £40,000 per year (large grants).  Grants may be up to 3 years in length. Deadline 12 April 2021.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have temporarily broadened the types of applications they accept and encourage applications for:

  • Project delivery (Including staffing and salary costs)
  • Creative solutions to deliver much needed services
  • Organisational costs to support stability and adaptation (including the day-to-day running costs of an organisation as opposed to specific project costs)

Also see:

Newby Trust, Covid-19 Fund – deadline: rolling

This page will be updated with any new funding opportunities that we become aware of. If you are providing funding suitable for physical activity and sport organisations in response to the covid-19 crisis and would like your funding to be promoted here, contact us.

London Sport has created a page which will be updated with any new statements or information from London Sport on the covid-19 outbreak and any impacts on our work.