€85 million Provides Timely Boost to Irish Sport Sector
- €64 million in funding to NGB, LSPs and Clubs to address significant Covid-19 related losses
- Dedicated funding disability and older adult sport
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport & Media, Catherine Martin TD and Minister of State for Sport and Gaeltacht Affairs, Jack Chambers TD, today announced an unprecedented €85 million funding package for the Irish sport sector, which has been significantly impacted by the various Covid-19 restrictions imposed since March 2020.
The funding being allocated today by Sport Ireland will address the existential threat to National Governing Bodies and their club networks, allowing sports organisations to off-set significant losses incurred in recent months and add a semblance of certainty to planning for 2021.
The significant investment will reach all levels of the sport sector with National Governing Bodies, Local Sports Partnerships and thousands of grassroots clubs across Ireland set to benefit.
Earlier this year Government announced funding of €70 million to protect the national sports system in Ireland.
Over €64 million of funding has been allocated to National Governing Bodies, Local Sports Partnerships and other funded bodies across four key schemes.
Recognising the continually changing landscape, an Emergency Fund to the value of €5.8 million has been ring-fenced to offset losses incurred by sports organisations during the current Level 5 restrictions and the remaining period of 2020.
Minister Martin said: “The Government recognises the vital contribution that sport has made to public health throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. While it is appreciated that this is a difficult time for sports organisations and individuals alike, sport has continued to respond and react to the evolving situation through innovative ways in keeping people engaged and active. The funding allocated by Sport Ireland today will protect the national sporting infrastructure and provide financial stability to the sector in the uncertain months ahead. Earlier this month I announced a significant increase in the budget for sport in 2021, which will provide further resilience to the sport sector as we look to emerge from the current crisis.”
Minister Chambers added: “Sport has demonstrated its resilience throughout the ongoing pandemic. It is important that this resilience continues into the weeks and months ahead as we look to emerge from this crisis. The funding announced today will assist our sporting organisations and clubs in getting everyone active and keeping them active. This has never been more important and is essential for our physical and mental wellbeing. As we look to the future, it will ensure our high performance athletes and teams are as well prepared as possible ahead of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. Similarly, it is vital that sports organisations are ready to return to activity as soon as public health circumstances allow. ”
Athletics Ireland CEO, Hamish Adams said: "On behalf of Athletics Ireland I wish to personally thank the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport & Media, Catherine Martin TD and the Minister of State for Sport and Gaeltacht Affairs, Jack Chambers TD for this much needed funding. All sport is suffering at this time and this significant investment by the State will ensure that we continue to deliver programmes that continue to support the health and well being of our nation."
Athletics Ireland Funding Allocation:
Key to the schemes is support of grassroots across the country through schemes delivered through Sport Ireland’s network of Local Sports Partnerships and through National Governing Bodies. Approximately €20 million will benefit thousands of clubs through the various schemes.
Chairman of Sport Ireland, Kieran Mulvey, commented: “The funding being allocated today will provide relief for funded bodies and clubs. It will provide much needed financial stability to the entire sector and has given organisations the confidence to continue trading through these difficult times. The funding recognises the wider economic and social impact of sport and the significant costs arising from the real threat of insolvency to sporting bodies. The needs of the disability sector were specifically addressed with a dedicated group being established to examine any particular issues arising during the Covid-19 pandemic; this has been recognised in our funding allocations. While the circumstances are unfortunate, Sport Ireland’s investment in 2020 is the largest ever investment package for sport. The recent budget announcement by the Ministers has reinforced that sense of confidence that support is available and we look forward to working with our funded bodies to address their needs in 2021.”
It has been recognised that the changing environment of restrictions has resulted in uncertainty and difficulty in planning for National Governing Bodies. This has been taken into consideration by Sport Ireland with funds being ring-fenced specifically to the address this issue.
Chief Executive of Sport Ireland, John Treacy, said: “The initial schemes announced in June were designed to support Organisations with Covid-19 related losses in 2020. However, having engaged with our funded bodies, we understand that the current Level 5 restrictions present additional challenges. As such, we are ring-fencing finances to address any immediate needs that may arise in the sector in the coming weeks. Sport has shown itself to be incredibly resilient throughout the Covid-19 restrictions having made a critical contribution to Irish life with more people being active than ever before. Through exemptions put in place by Government, we have been able to follow high performance and professional athletes and teams, which has provided a welcome lift to the nation. We look forward to working with the sector in the challenging weeks and months ahead, and will continue to provide ongoing support.”
Notes on Funding Schemes:
- National Governing Body Resilience Fund
20 National Governing Bodies will be supported with in excess of €5 million to offset 2020 losses. Broadly, this funding encompasses the loss of income from events, ticket sales, sponsorship, affiliation & membership fees, courses and services and the additional costs arising from the implementation of social distancing and Covid-19 protocols.
- Club Resilience Fund
The Club Resilience Fund supports Sports Clubs that find themselves in need of assistance due to Covid-19. NGBs could elect to apply for funding directly on behalf of affiliated Clubs. Alternatively, NGBs provided an estimated level of support required for their club network and propose to run a Covid-19 Club Support Grant Scheme directly.
It is recognised that any of the challenges faced by Governing Bodies are replicated across their club network with income from affiliation & membership fees, events, competition, coaching courses and ancillary services all reduced. The additional costs arising from the implementation of social distancing and Covid-19 protocols have also had a significant impact on most club activities where the sharing of equipment, facilities and resources is common place.
Sport Ireland will not fund Clubs, Affiliates, Provinces or Branches directly and funding will be accessed through programmes established by each of the National Governing Bodies in receipt of funding.
- Restart & Renewal Fund
Scheme four – LSP small grants €1.9m supporting over 1600 clubs, dedicated funding for Disability and Older Adults, Broad range of Innovative and restart projects supported through LSPs/NGBs.
A Sports Restart and Renewal Fund of up to €5 million has been made available to support four primary focus areas:
1) An LSP Led Small Grants Scheme
2) A Disability Sport Support Scheme
3) Older Adults
4) A Sports Innovation Fund
- LSP Small Grant Scheme
Through this scheme, Local Sports Partnerships were encouraged to operate a local scheme for small clubs and community groups similar to the national club scheme (Scheme Three). These schemes provide an additional mechanism to support community groups & clubs who may not be affiliated to a national organisation or recognised National Governing Body but provide a vital local service.
The primary aim of the grants is to cover the costs associated with implementing Covid-19 hygiene and social distancing protocols. There is a €1,500 limit on this grant scheme and only one application is accepted per club. The club grant scheme is designed and intended to support return to sporting activities only.
- Disability Sport Support Scheme
In recognition of the disproportionate impact Covid-19 has had on people with a disability, Sport Ireland ring-fenced a proportion of the Scheme to directly target the disability sport sector.
A specific Disability Sport Working Group was established to identify & quantify the unique financial & sporting challenges for organisations delivering in this sector.
The Working Group was comprised of representatives from Special Olympics Ireland, IWA Sport, Vision Sports Ireland & Paralympics Ireland. Disability focused programmes in mainstream Governing Bodies and the broader sports and physical activity sector were represented by both CARA and the LSP Network.
- Older Adults
Funding will be provided to Age & Opportunity and Ireland Active to deliver projects for older adults.
- Sports Innovation Fund
NGBs, LSPs and other funded bodies were invited to apply for funding under this scheme.
Funding aims specifically to promote and develop new programmes and projects that can advance sport and physical activity in the post-Covid-19 public health era. Collaboration between sports organisations is encouraged; reference to the National Sports Policy is essential.