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Sportsmatch injects thousands into grassroots

Wed 26th Oct 2011 | Money & Finance

Football clubs and organisations could benefit from grants of £1,000 up to £100,000 towards their community projects through Sport England’s ‘Sportsmatch’ scheme, and the Essex County FA are keen to support local applications to ensure they’re submitted before an imminently-closing window of funding.

Sport England is again encouraging clubs across England to see how they can benefit from the Sportsmatch programme, which makes awards to not-for-profit organisations who have secured sponsorship to deliver new community projects to grow or sustain participation in sport. Awards of between £1,000 and £100,000 can be made to match funding from no more than five sponsors, with each contributing a minimum of £1,000.

Sportsmatch uses money from the government to encourage new sponsorship of grassroots community sport. Priority is given to applications seeking to match sponsorship from the commercial sector, but donations from private individuals or charitable trusts are also acceptable provided they meet Sport England’s sponsorship eligibility criteria.

However, it’s a competitive programme and, in the previous two years, the scheme has received requests for funds which exceed the available budget. Sportsmatch particularly wants to fund projects which engage groups that are currently underrepresented within sport, for example women and girls, people with disabilities, and black and minority ethnic communities. The panel will favour projects which attract new commercial sponsorship.

Before making an application, Sport England recommends the completion of a pre-application checklist to help decide if an organisation or project is eligible for Sportsmatch. Essex County FA Football Development Manager, Brendan Walshe, has assisted with numerous successful projects locally and he’s invited people to come forward with their ideas on where to allocate project funding, which must be spent by 31st March 2012.

“We hear every day about how difficult it is to find financial resources for any kind of project in these difficult times, and in grassroots football we’re not immune from feeling the pinch,” explained Brendan, who is based at the County Office in Chelmsford. “That makes us even more appreciative of the support from organisations like Sport England, and the Essex County FA can offer advice and guidance with Sportsmatch applications.”

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