A COUNTY-WIDE commitment to help charities and community schemes restart after Covid, has now received a huge financial boost specifically to aid sporting activities.
Public Health Suffolk is to grant a further £350,000 to the Suffolk Community Restart initiative, which is being managed by Community Action Suffolk.
The new allocation comes via the government’s Contain Outbreak Management Fund, and will be available to sports teams and clubs who feel they need to invest in significant Covid-safe changes, or need advice and training in order to resume their original programmes.
Suffolk Community Restart, which has been made possible through a partnership process involving Suffolk County Council, the District Councils and Borough Council, has already seen dozens of community clubs, projects, charities and meet-up initiatives apply for funds and receive on-demand training.
It has ensured ‘lifeline’ activities have returned at the heart of the Suffolk community, benefiting young people, the elderly, and entire neighbourhoods.
Chris Abraham, CEO of Community Action Suffolk, said: “We are extremely grateful to Suffolk Public Health for boosting this fund in such a way that our county’s incredible sporting projects can now be supported in getting back up and running as soon as possible.
“Covid has very much highlighted how important sports clubs and programmes are in our community, in terms of keeping people well and reducing health inequalities.
“So many of these initiatives are run by volunteers who are incredibly committed to the people they serve, and we are looking forward to helping more of them restart in a covid compliant way.”
One sport team to already have received funding via the Suffolk Community Restart initiative, is Bury Town Football Club.
Chris Ward, a director at the club, said: “The funding will enable the club, which has been closed since November 2020, to comply with Covid-19 regulations when it reopens in July 2021.
“It will be used to build an outside shelter to enable social distancing for spectators and community groups, such as a local church, who use this important community facility.”
Cllr Matthew Hicks, Leader of Suffolk County Council, said: “Community sports clubs, groups, organisations and events have been heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic, yet they have such an important role to play in supporting the health and wellbeing of the community.
“We are therefore delighted to provide additional funding, on top of what has already been provided for the Community Restart Programme, to help community sport get back up and running and remain running in a covid safe way. Our thanks go to Community Action Suffolk and our district and borough council partners for working with us on this really important initiative.”
Cllr Robert Everitt, Cabinet Member for Families and Communities at West Suffolk Council, said: “We are delighted to be able to support Bury Town FC through the Community Restart Scheme.
“This will help the Club safely welcome back more of its supporters, helping Bury Town FC adapt after what has been a very difficult time for many. We would of course encourage other community groups, if they haven’t already, to look into how the Restart Scheme can help them safely return to the activities they previously enjoyed.”
Specialist advice on running sporting events – including parkruns, swimming galas and sport festivals – in a Covid safe way, is available by emailing Chris Hussey at [email protected].