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We're committed to safeguarding the welfare of children, young people and adults by working to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all in Bedfordshire. Find Out More

About the fund

This Sport England fund makes awards of up to £10,000 using National Lottery funding, from a pot of £7 million, to help community sport and physical activity groups create or improve facilities in their local area.

Working with projects across the country, Places and Spaces is a match-funding initiative, delivered in partnership with Crowdfunder.

We're especially interested in receiving bids from areas experiencing high levels of deprivation, impact of coronavirus (Covid-19), loss capability and capacity in community organisations.

Sport England launched, and continue to run, a similar national fund in May 2020 – Active Together. So far, we've seen some incredible campaigns that really help to activate a community and ease the burden that the coronavirus pandemic has had across our sector.

As such, the aim of Places and Spaces is to use a similar model to unite communities and leave a legacy from the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Key information

  • Awards (or 'pledges') of up to £10,000 are possible.
  • You must set up a crowdfunding campaign before we'll consider a pledge towards that campaign.
  • All campaigns should be a celebration of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, providing information on how the place or space is going to provide a legacy and unite your community.
  • Applications can be made by not-for-profit organisations for the benefit of people and communities within England.

Why consider crowdfunding?

Running a crowdfunding campaign isn't only a great way to raise essential funds, but also offers many additional benefits – such as:

  • raising the awareness of what you do in the wider community
  • improving the understanding among current members or supporters about the financial pressure of keeping things going
  • encouraging new members, supporters and volunteers
  • learning skills and building confidence in areas like social media, marketing, content writing and video creation
  • creating new connections and relationships with local businesses and experts.

Crowdfunding can be hard work, it's sometimes a little daunting, but we can help support you as much or as little as you need.

We have some fantastic, free support on hand to help you on your crowdfunding journey, including:

  • 1-2-1 coaching by crowdfunding experts
  • advice and guidance on campaign improvements
  • access to online courses
  • 60-minute webinars
  • social media hints and tips.

Sport England also created a handy guide with all the details, which can be downloaded from the link below.

Recent examples

To help give you an idea of what a crowdfunding campaign can achieve, we've collated some stats and examples from successful campaigns we've already supported under our other initiatives with Crowdfunder.

Launched in May 2020, our Return to Play: Active Together fund has, to January 2023:

  • Supported 641 campaigns
  • Seen £3.26m invested by Sport England
  • Seen an additional £7.07m raised by supporters
  • Seen an average of £16,371 raised by each campaign
  • Seen a return of £2.18 raised by the crowd for every £1 of Sport England investment

And this Places and Spaces Fund, since launch until January 2023, has:

  • Supported 85 campaigns
  • Seen £559,263 invested by Sport England
  • Seen an additional £1.03m raised by supporters
  • Seen an average of £10,002 raised by each campaign
  • Seen a return of £2.00 raised by the crowd for every £1 of Sport England investment

Application process

What will Sport England support?

This funding is for community sport and physical activity groups looking to create, improve or change a space or place that will provide opportunities for people to be more active in their local community.

The places and spaces in which people play sport and get active are important. Whether it's the canal tow path you walk or jog along, the village hall you do keep fit classes in or the pitch you play on, welcoming and accessible spaces have a big impact on a person's experience, as well as their likelihood of getting active and coming back.

Places and Spaces is a facility-based development programme – so it's focused around a specific place or space. Appropriate ownership of the facility or space will be a requirement before you start your project.

If you're planning to change a space, for example adding signage or a more substantial redevelopment of a building, it's likely you'll need permission to make any changes legal.

As well as being assured of permission, we need to ensure the long-term benefit for our investment we're making.

Applicants will therefore need to own the space or facility, through the freehold or leasehold, for a minimum period.

If you're working towards having appropriate ownership, please apply and tell us where you're up to.

If you don't own the facility or space but want to discuss your situation, get in contact with us!

Your project may just be an idea, or you may be much further along, but ideally you should be able to be on site and starting your project within three months of your campaign closing.

How long will it take?

Campaigns typically run for 28 days but take a few weeks to create – so about six weeks in total.

Applications to 'Places and Spaces' are done through the Crowdfunder site and will take just a few minutes to complete and submit.

Once received, our decision on whether we support your campaign or not, will be made within a couple of days – leaving you to focus on running your campaign.

Whilst we can't fund every campaign we see, those that make a good case, include a video and have engaging rewards that'll incentivise a crowd wider than just an existing membership, typically succeed.

We'll support you throughout, to help you develop and deliver the best possible campaign you can.

Crowdfunding can be a great way to achieve a fundraise in a relatively short period of time, so why not give it a try?