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November 10, 2020

GiveToLocal Tackles Lockdown Head On

GiveToLocal is moving to limit the impact of a second lockdown — and future lockdowns — as community clubs come to terms with a fresh challenge to their long-term future.

Working with clubs across the country has allowed the organisation to adapt in the face of adversity and refine a service focused on delivering lasting change to local communities.

And following last night’s confirmation from Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden that grassroots sport outside school would be paused from November 5 until December 2, GiveToLocal is stepping in.

Staff are now working around the clock to put into place an action plan that can directly impact clubs within days.

And GiveToLocal Co-Founder and CEO Neil Gardiner is promising a ‘rapid, refocused response’.

“We’re in a position to react quickly and effectively to an announcement which presents serious challenges to the future of our clubs and community sport in general,” he said.

“Our departmental teams are already busy rolling out fundamental changes that will allow clubs across the UK to raise vital funds quickly and in a way they have never been able to before.

“We’ve looked carefully at how we can change the way that we work to help communities right now — not in two weeks or two months.

“The shift in how we operate as a result of these changes will continue to benefit clubs in the long term and maximise the impact we have as we work towards building a sustainable future for our clubs.

“When the UK went into lockdown first time around we saw that as an opportunity to bring forward plans to support more sports, more teams and more clubs.

“I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be able to react positively again this time.

“We’ll make an announcement later this week and we want community sport clubs everywhere to know that we can help them look forward to a bright future.”

The new lockdown rules have far-reaching consequences for sport across the board.

Although elite sport has been allowed to continue behind closed doors it’s a far bleaker picture at grassroots level.

From Thursday people are being told to stay at home unless they have a specific reason to leave, such as education and work that cannot be done from home.

People are allowed to exercise outdoors alone, with their household or with one other person.

But many facilities, including gyms and pools, must close, along with other indoor and outdoor leisure centres.

“Unfortunately we need to pause grassroots sport outside school to reduce the transmission risk from households mixing,” said Mr Dowden.

“As soon as we can resume this, we will.”

The Sports and Recreation Alliance, which represents UK national sports organisations including the FA and Rugby Football Union along with community sport, has warned the new measures may ‘prove to be the final nail in the coffin for a number of clubs’.

Chief executive Lisa Wainwright said: “The closure of our facilities will once again place a financial burden on thousands of community clubs who are already reeling from the initial lockdown.

“And we fear that many may never reopen their doors without a comprehensive sports recovery fund provided by government.”

The Sport for Development Coalition backed calls for more funding from the government as many sporting clubs, charities and local organisations ‘support mental wellbeing, contribute to tackling social isolation, facilitate community connections and engage young people excluded from education and employment’.

Neil is determined to harness the power of sport to spark positive change even in the face of a tough new challenge to communities across the UK.

“We’re in a position to help and we feel duty bound to use that position given the unique situation facing community sport,” he added.

“This is exactly why GiveToLocal is here. The support we can offer has never been more relevant and it’s important that we act right here, right now.”

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