Storm victims helped by emergency relief fund

Grants of National Lottery funding up to £5,000 could help repair damage to pitches and facilities.

The effects of Storm Ciara are still being fully assessed but, in an attempt to rectify the damage as soon as possible, local authorities and community sports organisations are being invited by Sport England to apply for a grant of up to £5,000 to pay for emergency repairs.

Gale force winds and torrential rain have left pitches, pavilions and floodlights in a state of disrepair, with Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire among the worst-hit areas.

The grants, which will come from Sport England’s Community Asset Fund, can be provided in as little as three weeks. But chief executive, Tim Hollingsworth, has highlighted where attentions should be focused.

“When flooding happens, the priority must be making sure people are safe, they can get back into their homes and vital public services are back up and running,” he said.

“But we know from the floods in 2013 and 2015 that flood water can cause significant damage to sports pitches and pavilions, changing and social facilities.

“We’re making emergency funding available now so when the time is right sports organisations can pay for rebuilds and repairs quickly.

“We want to ensure that the sports facilities in local communities that help keep people physically active are not forgotten in the floods so they are ready to use as soon as people want them.”

The grants could typically be used to restore grass pitches, to repair and decontaminate flood or wind-damaged clubhouses, replace damaged electrical systems or dredge blocked drains.

The Community Asset Fund was designed to help communities quickly respond to emergencies or unexpected events that stop people from being active.

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