New funding to help schools open their sports facilities

Sport England is investing £10.1m of government money to help more schools open their facilities to the public once the coronavirus pandemic is over.

The funding, which has been provided by the Department for Education, is in addition to the £1.5m awarded as part of the School Sport and Activity Action Plan announced in July 2019 and will help schools deliver extra-curricular activities and open their facilities outside of the school day during evenings, weekends and school holidays. 

The organisation will work with the nationwide network of Active Partnerships to distribute the funding.

"Schools play a vital role in keeping young people active and the pandemic has had a huge impact on their ability to open up their facilities," said Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of Sport England. 

"With this new investment, Active Partnerships will provide support and funding for their local schools so they can open after school and during the school holidays, providing more sports clubs and activity facilities to children and the wider community."

The new funding will help Active Partnerships to support their local schools to understand the challenges in opening their facilities in a Covid-secure manner and could include helping them to buy new equipment for sports and activities, as well as arranging additional cleaning and clear signage to help maintain social distancing. Large scale capital/building works aren't eligible for the funding.

A recen survey showed that 91 per cent of schools would be prepared to open their facilities for community use when restrictions are lifted, despite the fact only 52 per cent have been able to at any point over the last year.

Sport England’s Active Lives Children and Young People Survey also showed the number of children who met the government’s guidance for an hour of activity a day dropped by more than 100,000 (2.3%) in the summer of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019.

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