Rugby League has benefitted from financial support to the tune of more than £600,000 so far in 2021 thanks to the RFL’s work with Sport England and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), with £340,000 going directly to the game’s community clubs writes an RFL spokesperson.
The RFL has been working on behalf of clubs and foundations to access Sport England and DCMS funding streams which collectively offer up to £1.75million to help them survive the impact of the pandemic and support under-represented groups. Already more than one hundred community clubs have received support, with many more set to benefit between now and March 2022.
Marc Lovering, RFL Director of Participation and Development, says: “External funding was critical in helping clubs return to play earlier this year, and it will be critical again in helping them through this winter and ready for next season. By securing this funding and processing applications we’ve been able to support all variations of our game in some of the country’s most disadvantaged communities.
“All this is in addition to the millions of pounds brought into the community game via the RLWC2021 CreatedBy grants scheme, and our programme of work with clubs to ensure they could access around £2million in national and local government reliefs and mitigations.
“We remain grateful to DCMS and Sport England for their ongoing practical support to Rugby League – they are key partners to the sport.”
Simon Martin of Gloucestershire-based All Golds adds: “Without support like this from the RFL, Sport England and DCMS, community clubs in Rugby League would find it very difficult in these COVID times to continue to run our clubs. I would like to place on record our thanks on behalf of All Golds.”
Representatives from other community clubs have also publicly acknowledged this financial lifeline. “This is the toughest time of the year, with limited Rugby League activity and utility bills having risen dramatically,” explains Joe Fitzsimmons from Wigan St Jude’s. “With the pandemic on top of this we would have found it very difficult finding the finance to run our club. We appreciate the hard work and support that has gone into it from the RFL.”
“We would like to place our thanks on record to the RFL and Sport England for recognising community clubs, which are the life blood of our sport” says Fiona Everson of West Hull. “Clubs need support to get through these difficult times. Due to the losses of rugby activity, events, festivals and functions, this period has been difficult and the RL Survival funding has come just at the right time to inject finances when clubs need it the most. The sport will have the best start possible looking forward to the new season in 2022 and although we understand that we still have some challenges ahead, this puts us in the best place possible to tackle them.”
The RFL was awarded £300,000 from Sport England’s Tackling Inequalities Fund, while a further £1.45million is available through the DCMS-funded and Sport England-supported Rugby League Survival Fund launched in September. 128 community clubs have benefited to date, including some of those who will be involved in Round 1 of the Betfred Challenge Cup in January.
All community clubs are invited to a New Year funding workshop on 12 January (7pm) to understand more about the funding application process. Any community club that has yet to be contacted by the RFL, or has any questions about these funding streams, should email Community.Funding@rfl.co.uk