DEPUTY Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord Elis-Thomas has announced a funding package to support Wales’ sport and leisure sector.
The ‘Sport and Leisure Recovery Fund’ will support the sector with the ongoing challenges resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic and provide longer-term sustainability.
The fund is intended to provide essential support to sports clubs and organisations, independent providers and sporting events who have all faced significant challenges during the crisis and continue to be severely impacted. The fund will help in driving innovation for local authority leisure centres and Leisure Trusts to complement the Hardship Fund for local government
Lord Elis-Thomas, said:
“I’m very pleased that we’re able to lead the way in Wales in protecting and sustaining this very important part of our society by delivering this targeted package of support.
“Sport across Wales came to an abrupt halt at the beginning of this crisis with an immediate impact. We also recognise that there are significant longer-term challenges facing the sector – linked to gradual reopening and low capacities. I hope this fund will help with long-term planning and sustainability in the sport and leisure sector – which plays such an important part in keeping the nation healthy and active.”
The funding package will be allocated to Sport Wales and managed by them on the Welsh Government’s behalf.
Sarah Powell, Sport Wales Chief Executive, said:
“On behalf of the sector I’d like to say thank you to the Welsh Government, this is a very welcome and essential package of financial support. It reinforces the important role sport and physical activity plays in helping to develop a more active and resilient population.
“Physical activity was a lifeline for many during the pandemic and the sector has been working incredibly hard over the past six months, utilising funding designed to help the clubs, groups and organisations whose main role has been to enable communities throughout Wales to enjoy being active safely. The challenge to protect organisations, facilities and jobs remain paramount and we are delighted that through the Sport and Leisure Rescue Package additional support can soon be provided.
Importantly, not everyone in Wales has the same opportunity to access sport and physical activity. The pandemic has sadly shown that many of the inequalities which already existed in sports participation have been intensified, with far too many people missing out on the benefits that being active can bring. Addressing this must be a priority for everyone involved in sport and the Sport Rescue Package will also focus on those partners and providers who are developing innovative ways to overcome the barriers to sport that currently exist for communities across Wales.
For clubs and groups looking for immediate support, I would urge them to consider the Be Active Wales Fund which has already protected hundreds of clubs and is helping them to prepare for a safe and responsible return to sport. We will now work at pace with partners and the Welsh Government to ensure the funding is distributed efficiently and effectively to reach those that have the greatest need.”