Flutter Entertainment has announced that its Cash4Clubs charity initiative has partnered with Made by Sport to create the 2021 ‘Clubs In Crisis’ campaign fund.
The COVID-19 response effort, which will provide funding for community sports clubs under the management of Made by Sport, has been launched with a donation of £4.79m by Flutter.
Asserting a focus on helping local grassroots clubs who are struggling to survive due to the impact of the pandemic, Flutter comments that, “with schools closed, financial relief dwindling and the pressure on mental health services at an all time high, the social aspect of sport once it is safe to resume has never been more critical”.
The initial donation being made by the group is the amount it benefitted from as a result of business rates relief, which was put in place from March 2020 to March 2021 for its shops in England.
Peter Jackson, group CEO of Flutter Entertainment, stated: “Lack of funding is not a new issue for community clubs which is why we originally set up our Cash4Clubs programme.
“But now help is needed more than ever and working with Made by Sport to provide a fund for ‘Clubs In Crisis’ is a great way for us to pass the benefit of business rates relief straight into the communities where that funding is most needed.”
Made By Sport says that the fund will provide grants of £2021 aimed at the smallest organisations playing the biggest role in helping communities get back on their feet, once the pandemic allows grassroots activities to resume.
The charity, set up in 2019 to raise awareness and funding for grassroots sports clubs and organisations that work with young people across the UK, will set the criteria to identify the clubs most in need of financial support.
Justin King, chairman of Made by Sport, added: “With a quarter of all sports clubs in the UK facing permanent closure, community sport is facing a crisis. As we look to the future and rebuilding our communities, the role of grassroots sports in helping to tackle some of the key social issues exacerbated by the pandemic will be ever more important.
“This fund will reach some of the smallest and hardest hit clubs, and for many this will be the difference between permanent closure and the chance to continue the great work they do to address the social inequalities that exist in our communities.”
The Cash4Clubs initiative was launched in 2008 and has given nearly £800,000 to clubs over the past 12 years, with £165,000 of grants distributed in 2020.