Support is available for innovative projects that support underserved communities to stay active during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Sport England is looking to support innovative projects that remove barriers to being active during the coronavirus pandemic for those communities that are currently least well-served. Already existing inequalities are currently being exacerbated by the pandemic and those most affected are not able to access sports and activity and are missing out on the health benefits.

Applications are invited for innovative solutions from individuals and organisations specifically developed to support:

  • Women.
  • People on low incomes.
  • People from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
  • Disabled people.
  • People living with long-term health conditions.
  • The project should address at least one of the following challenges that are considered most likely to be affecting the target groups:
    • Changes in circumstances: When faced with change due to financial pressures or increased caring responsibilities, certain groups may no longer feel able to invest time and/or money, or may lack the headspace needed to think about, plan, or invest the effort it takes to be active.
      Mental health: Certain groups of people are more likely to be experiencing new or worsening feelings of depression, stress, loneliness or anxiety, reducing their likelihood to be physically active.
    • Digital exclusion: Faced with a continued period of enforced social distancing or isolation, people who are unable to, or who do not have access to digital channels, may not have the opportunity to be physically active.
    • Sport England is looking to help the affected communities quickly and is looking for products or solutions that are already worked up and ready to deliver a positive impact within the next six months. Innovations could include creating a completely new product, a new way of delivering an existing product or a tiny change that has a big effect.

Projects do not have to directly deliver physical activity and Sport England is interested in solutions focused on community infrastructure or those that might encourage greater activity through changes to the physical environment. Organisations should also think about innovations that are not just digital or about apps. Many of the target audiences either are not connected to digital or do not like to use it to receive information, so organisations should consider how else to engage them.

For successful applicants Sport England is offering:

  • Access to valuable connections.
  • Advice from experts in the sport and physical activity sector.
  • Access to industry-leading research and insight into activity trends and motivations.
  • A possible award of up to £50,000, from a potential £1 million pot of National Lottery funding.

Further information and an online application form are available on the website of Sport England.

Applications can be submitted until noon on 24 June 2020.

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