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Finding Funding For Sports Facilities

Funding has become a major issue in regards to Sports Facilities. Access to funding has certainly changed over the past few years but there is still funding available. However, the level of funding has changed and there are more hoops to jump through to access it. Thornton Sports has put together a few hints and tips to help guide you through the funding process.

When applying for funding through the schemes we have laid out in this article, there are a few tips to include in your application 

  • Move away from traditional one use projects ie: a football focused facility. A multi-use project that will further benefit a school and surrounding community is far more likely to be  successful

  • Evidence of need – why do you need this facility? What value will it add to the school and community? Provide evidence to back your application. In some areas you may be able to prove there is a key need for a sport in your area; identify this need and include it with your application

  • Provide a strategic sports development/community engagement plan – if you are successful in your application for funding, where would you expect to be in a year’s time? Five years time? Ten years time? Remember a well prepared and evidenced bid will stand head and shoulders above the rest. Get a team together, use each individual’s skills to full effect in your application and put together an application that cannot be refused!  

  • Make sure you have the land you wish to build your facility on secured! Either build on land you already own, or lease the land well before your application.  

  • Applications whereby partial funding is already in place or has been secured have proven to be more successful. Show willing in your efforts to get a project off the ground so to speak.

  • Include financial information – would you give a large sum of money to an individual who has a suspect financial history? No. Show the funding governing body that you can be trusted to carry out your plans and through investing in your project they would be improving both your school and community.

  • Make sure legally you can build on the land and you can secure planning permission to do so – provide evidence of at least checking this is a realistic possibility. Engaging with a planner might also be an idea for this stage of your application. A good and thorough planning consultant can be invaluable in this stage of your project, helping you secure planning permission and dealing with the relevant council departments in your place if need be.

  • A solid business plan! Remember a well thought out and maintained synthetic sports facility can actually pay for itself in terms of hire costs. Speak to other facilities in your area that have successfully accessed funding and are successfully running synthetic sports facilities!

  • Our final and most key point to this guide is that the most well thought out and ‘strong’ applications are the applications being granted funding. The money being granted by the majority of sport funding bodies is public money and this means they have responsibility to ensure the money is being used in projects that have the strongest possibilities to be successful and provide much needed resources for communities.

Amongst others, Thornton Sports have previously worked with projects that have accessed funding through the following funding bodies:-

  1. Sport England  - Sports England have a variety of funding streams open, they offer funding for the smallest projects right up to Olympic/World Class sporting projects. For further information in regards Sport England funding please follow the link- 
  1. Cash 4 Clubs - Cash 4 Clubs is a sports funding scheme which gives clubs a unique chance to apply for grants to improve facilities, purchase new equipment, gain coaching qualifications, and generally invest in the sustainability of their club - 
  1. Football Foundation – The Football Foundation is the UK’s largest charity, funded by the Premier League, The FA and Government through Sport England. They fund the development of new and refurbished grassroots sports facilities -                                                                                                                                                    
  2. England Hockey Fund – The England Hockey Fund receives funding from both commercial and public sources. The biggest funding partners are Sport England, UK Sport and the National Lottery. England Hockey also has the support of The National Hockey Foundation –   
  3. Rugby Football Foundation – The Rugby Football Union set up its charity in 2003 and to date has given out over £16.7 million in developing community rugby clubs. It also offers Interest Free Loans, Helping Hand Grants and Grounds Match Grants-

  4. Local Community Foundations – There are 48 community foundations across the UK and UKCF is their umbrella organisation. Local Community Foundations provide advice and support to our member community foundations and help UK-wide clients such as Big Lottery and Comic Relief channel funding, via community foundations, to where it’s needed most – 

  5. Big Lottery Fund – Awards lottery money to community groups and projects that improve health, education and the environment. There are several funding pots available at any given time! – 
  1. Comic Relief’s Sport for Change Programme – Through sport for change funding Comic Relief wants to support organisations and projects that use sport to create social change. Through the work they do Comic Relief has proved that sport has a positive impact on young people’s lives with social issues. Applications for the UK Sport for Change project are made through the UK main fund, for further information click the link and see if your project is applicable-     
  2. The London Marathon Charitable Trust Provides grants to organisations and communities for creative capital projects that enable more people to take part in physical activities, focusing on groups where there are currently low rates of physical exercise. To take a look at the trust follow this link -                                                                           

Finally, in our experience if you are trying to access funding for a Sport Facility your first port of call should be your local County Sports Partnership. County Sports Partnerships or CSP’s are a network of agencies in the UK dedicated to working together to increase participation in sport and physical activity. They will be able to help point you in the right direction, assist you with your application and guide you through the process. Click the link to be redirected to their website -

This is simply a general guide from our experience; there is a huge amount of funding out there for the right projects! Good luck!

 If you need any further help, give Thornton Sports a call on 01282 777345 or email for further information.

If you enjoyed reading this you may also enjoy Football SurfacesRugby Surfaces and Hockey Surfaces.

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