Sports clubs and associations up and down the country have now had just over a week to begin gathering their thoughts and documentation on the 2023 round of Sports Capital Grant Funding.

The round was announced by Ministers Catherine Martin and Thomas byrne just before the Dáil rose for the summer, a smart political move allowing TD’s to spend time offering advice and help to clubs in processing what is a major funding stream going right to the heart of communities.

The SCEP is the Government’s primary vehicle for providing support to sports clubs and communities to develop sports infrastructure around the country.

It has delivered down the years with over 13,000 projects having benefited from sports capital funding since 1998.

There is no slow down in demand either with 2,000 projects funded to the tune of €150 million in 2022, bringing the total allocations to over €1.15 billion.

The timing of this window will be challenging for clubs looking to bring together different skill sets over the course of the generally seen as a holiday period of late July and August.

The closing date for applications is September 8th and there is a lot of work to be pulled together in this compressed period of time.

There are a number of important changes to the criteria as well.

Applicants for local projects can now apply for up to €200,000, increased from the previous maximum grant of €150,000.

The maximum valid grant available for projects deemed to be of regional significance has been increased from €300,000 to €500,000.

In addition, this year’s SCEP “Guide to Making an Application” has a focus on climate action and sustainability for the first time, supporting local clubs to take steps to reduce their energy consumption and applying for more efficient lighting.

For the first time in the history of the SCEP, projects will only be considered for grant support if access is guaranteed to men and women on equal terms. As one of the stated objectives of the Programme is to increase female participation, all applications for funding of women-only facilities will be deemed valid for consideration.

This is an important change because it will either force many clubs to advance the idea of shared facilities or exclude others who have traditionally been open only to boys or men.

In some cases this will be welcome as a modern society has little space for old and outdated gender stereotyping.

In others though it will raise difficulties. GAA clubs are by definition only open to boys and men, with the LGFA and Camogie Association catering for girls and Women. In many areas one club has grown to accommodate all the different codes of Gaelic Games but in rural areas this might not be the case, with some clubs having grown up on the girls side to cater for a wider footprint and the GAA clubs being left to the boys.

Those clubs will no longer be able to apply.

Similarly the growth of women’s sport in the other major field sports of Football and Rugby will have had a lot of catching up to do over the past decade and while aspirational applications might be made, they will have to be backed up with a genuine plan to reach out to both genders on an equal basis.

Another major change is the inclusion of renovation and improvements to publicly available swimming pools.

This is the first time in the 25 year history of the grants that they have been eligible, with credit due to Active Ireland and Swim Ireland for pushing at the need to include these important facilities.

The funding will be available for clubs and local authorities to apply for.

The 2023 Guide to Making an Application provides good detail on how clubs can optimise their chances of a successful application though the date for registration on the Department website to be eligible is now only a month away on August 25th.

Sport for Business Partner 2Into3 is already working with a number of National Governing Bodies and providing tailored advice to clubs via a mix of in-person and online seminars.

Sport for Business will also host one of these sessions for individual clubs that are affiliated to sporting bodies that are Members of Sport for Business at a date to be confirmed during the week commencing 14th August.

Pre-register with us below if you would like to attend this session which will be held online.