Bridlington Town applying for much-needed cash support

Bridlington Town chairman Pete Smurthwaite has admitted his club are applying for ‘vital’ funding offered to non-league clubs by the Government last week.

Thursday, 4th February 2021, 8:42 am
Bridlington Town are looking to net some cash support. Photos by Dom Taylor available to order by emailing [email protected] or on Facebook at DT Sports Photographs

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston 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.

The funding will be provided in the form of grants.

Clubs in Steps 3-6 were contacted directly by the Football Foundation with full details and funds will be distributed quickly to clubs through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund.

Smurthwaite, whose club play in the Northern Counties East League Premier Division at Step 5, said:“We are currently completing the application forms for the “possible” grant which at Step 5 is up to a maximum of £10,500.00.

“The application will be means tested I believe so basically if you already have money in the bank because you have been prudent with your expenditure in these difficult times you may only receive a small amount of the maximum sum.

“We have to list our monthly expenditure on the following items: Insurance, Ground Rent, Utility Charges, Essential Pitch Maintenance, non furloughed staff and any other acceptable expenditure and any Covid compliance measures.

“The scheme is being funded by the Government through the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF) and applications need to be submitted by the 14th February, 2021 .

“It is vital that we receive some of this funding because at present we have no income at all and obviously we don’t know if and when restrictions at the club will be lifted.

“We also await the results of the FA Survey we submitted recently about the “continuation and suggestion for completing the season” which we expect a reply in the next couple of weeks.”

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.

In October the Government announced it had brokered a unique deal with the National Lottery to provide a £10 million cash injection to keep Step 1 and 2 clubs afloat, and recently announced a provisional £11 million in very low interest long term loans to support clubs in those tiers.

Clubs will be assessed on the basis of need, with grants available where loans are demonstrated to be unaffordable for individual clubs in line with the support offered for other sports.

The Sports Winter Survival Package is a sector-specific intervention that is on top of the multi-billion pounds worth of business support that has been made available by the Government, including the furlough scheme, business rates relief and business interruption loan scheme that has helped many sports clubs survive. Football alone has accessed many hundreds of millions of pounds of support through this.

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 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.”