Coronavirus football: Government offers grants to non-league clubs

Non-league football clubs in Cornwall can now apply for a new grant to help get them through the latest period of inactivity amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston has announced that Steps 3-6 of the National League system will receive up to £10 million to protect the immediate future of approximately 850 clubs over the winter period.

Football has been suspended since the start of January as England went into a third national lockdown, with clubs up and down the country once again unable to earn income through match ticket or clubhouse sales.

The latest round of funding will be available to clubs in Steps 3-6 of the National League System, which in Cornwall will be all clubs in the south West Peninsula League at Step 6, plus Step 3 side Truro City.

Clubs at Step 6 will be able to apply for up to £7,500, while Southern League Premier South outfit Truro City will be eligible to receive up to £27,000.

The grant can be used to cover lease or mortgage payments, debt of loan payments, utility costs, insurance, essential pitch and stadium maintenance, non-playing staff who haven’t been furloughed, and Covid-19 compliance measures.

The funding will be provided in the form of grants. Clubs in Steps 3-6 will be contacted directly by the Football Foundation with full details and will be able to make an application now. Funds will be distributed quickly to clubs through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund.

It is the first award to be announced from the Government’s £300 million Sports Winter Survival Package that is focused on helping those major spectator sports severely impacted by coronavirus restrictions survive the winter.

It follows submissions made from individual sports to an independent decision-making Board, supported by Sport England.

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “We promised to support sports and target help to where it’s most needed. Today we continue to deliver on that with further support for National League football clubs.

“The National League has already benefited from the Government support schemes through a £10 million Government-brokered cash partnership with the National Lottery, and there will be more support for the bigger clubs on the way.

“Today’s £10 million grant for lower league clubs in Steps 3-6 will act as a lifeline for around 850 clubs in towns and cities across England, and help these clubs through this difficult period until we can get fans back in safely.”

Chair of the independent Board, Sir Ian Cheshire said: “On behalf of the independent Board we are pleased to be able to confirm funding from the Sports Winter Survival Package in the form of up to £10 million of grants for steps 3-6 of the National League System.

“As the sport and physical activity sector continues to navigate trying times, this package of government support is vitally important in ensuring that clubs, sports and leagues who are reliant on revenue from spectators can continue to stay afloat.

“With thanks to Sport England for their significant work managing the scheme, the independent Board continues to work at speed while prioritising those with most pressing need for support, and we anticipate confirming further recipients in the coming weeks.”