One of the most transformational Government policies over the last ten years has been the Sports Capital Grant Programme that has channelled over €200 million into sports clubs projects.
There is no dampening of demand either as new analysis of the latest round from our partners in 2Into3 has shown.
The latest round opened in December 2020, after nine months of lockdown but even if the planning meetings had to take place over zoom there were a total of 3,236 applications seeking a total of €200,232,382 by the time the closing date came around at the beginning of March.
Those applications are currently being pored over by the team at the Department of Tourism, Culture, the Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media where they will need to be allocated into the available fund for this round of €40 million.
The demand represents a 32.5 per cent increase (or approximately €38.4 million) on the 2018 applications, indicating a strong demand locally and regionally.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasised how important sport is to our society,” said Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers at the time. “It is critical for our physical and mental wellbeing. The new programme will again prioritise applications from disadvantaged areas…which will increase participation, including female participation and disabled users and those which share facilities with other users.”
Sport for Business has worked with 2Into3 down the years to deliver advice and guidance to clubs seeking funding and we are currently undertaking a series of online Club Development Webinars with National Governing Bodies and Local Sports partnerships up and down the country.
Analysis of 2020 Applications
2Into3 have analysed the applications received in the latest round and discovered a number of key trends that will impact on the way the distributions are made.
Louth, Tipperary and Longford registered more than a 50 per cent increase in the number of applications this time around while Laois produced the biggest per capita application rise, of 54 per cent.
If we look at Dublin, there is a 23 per cent increase in the number of grants submitted, though the amount sought per capita has dropped by 7 per cent, whereas in Cork, the number of applicants increased by 20% and this was matched by a 20% increase in amount per capita sought.
In Louth, the number of applicants more than doubled (63 per cent increase) however the increase per capita sought increased by only 23 per cent. These figures would suggest that there were smaller amounts being sought by a larger group of applicants and there is greater diversity in the applicant base.
As the programme is designed to increase participation in sport, it is important for us to look at what sports are applying for grants in 2021? There were 63 different sport type organisations that applied for funding and while the top ten sports remain similar from 2018, their ranking in the top 10 has altered slightly.
However, it’s important to look beyond the Top 10 and see what the breakdown of sporting interests are across the country and who is seeking to develop their facilities. A total of €19,735,089 was sought by the remaining 53 sport types, with the highest of those being equestrian sports which are seeking €2,008,229.
The range of amounts sought goes down to €7,253.82 and the full range of applicants is testament to the sporting life of the country and how it continues to grow despite challenges.
This diversity in sport is reflected in the groups who are applying to the programme for finance.
The type of applicant tells us about the involvement of the wider community in submitting applications and not just as a licensee but as a community-wide initiative to increase participation in sport.
Nationally 75.3 per cent of applications received were from Sports Clubs and the remainder from a cross-section of the nonprofit sector.
There is no decline in the ambition of sports clubs to continue to grow and develop their facilities and they are looking to the future as to how they can meet the current and future needs of their members.
The Department is currently processing both local and regional applications and there is yet no indication as to when the allocations will be announced. However, given the level of interest in the programme and club engagement, there is a will for sports clubs to survive through these challenges and continue to grow post lockdown.
2Into3 are one of more than 250+ members of the Sport for Business network of sporting and business organisations working together across a number of key areas.
Sport for Business Partners