Armstrong calls for fair play for sports clubs

Alliance Communities spokesperson Kellie Armstrong MLA has called on two Executive Ministers to change the current system to ensure sports clubs can qualify for financial support to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

It follows the suspension of the Department for Communities’ Hardship Fund for Sport. Under the current regulations, sports clubs cannot apply for help from the Department for the Economy’s £10,000 small business grant scheme or the £25,000 business scheme for retail, hospitality, tourism and leisure grants.

Strangford MLA Ms Armstrong has now submitted formal written questions to the Communities and Economy Ministers asking for the exclusion of the sports sector to be lifted as soon as possible.

“Sport provides so much within our community, helping build camaraderie and improve the health of so many people,” she said.

“Many of our local sports clubs deliver their services without having much income to begin with. In particular, those clubs have been left behind during this crisis and there is every possibility they will not be there when the pandemic is over.

“As the Hardship Fund for Sport has now been suspended, I have written to the Communities and Economy Ministers to ask them to lift the exclusion of sports clubs and allow them to apply for the £10,000 grant and for the £25,000 to be opened to larger sport clubs. We need to ensure when this pandemic is over, our community can still enjoy getting together through healthy activities. Sports clubs will play a huge role in that.”