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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

Sport England's Small Grants

Sport England's Small Grants

Sport England's Small Grants

If you're interested in applying please get in contact with a Be Active team member

About the fund

We want to support projects that bring communities together and provide sport and physical activities for people who may be less physically active.

We also particularly want to support projects focusing on environmental sustainability.

We believe that communities that work together and share resources provide a stronger and more sustainable impact.

Therefore, we want applications from projects that demonstrate how they connect with their communities, make best use of the existing skills and assets in an area, and will provide the biggest possible impact to those who need it most.

We also want projects to show how they've sought to reduce their impact on the environment through the goods and services they use to deliver the activity.

Please be aware that we always have more applications than we're able to fund, so our priority is to support projects working with people in disadvantaged communities.

See our section on priorities below for more information.

Key information

  • Awards of £300-£15,000 are available to not-for-profit organisations.
  • Multiple applications can be submitted, but organisations can only have awards of up to £15,000 in any 12-month period.
  • Awards are to help inactive and less active people become more active.
  • Our priority is to support projects working with people living in areas of disadvantage as defined by the Indices of Multiple Deprivation areas 1 to 3.
  • Applications should explain why there's a need for the project and how end users have been involved in developing the project.
  • Applications should consider how the project adds value to services currently available in your local community, and work collaboratively with other groups to maximise the impact of the project.
  • The closing date for applications is 30 June 2023.

Who and what will Sport England fund

What can Sport England fund

Provided your project meets the programme aims, Sport England can fund a wide range of costs and items.

However, your application should state how your project adds value to existing services or provision – we won't fund costs that are already being incurred.

Your project should consider how you involve your community in the design and delivery of the project to help show it's really needed.

Sport England would like funding to connect communities and build on the strengths and assets already in place.

Here are some projects Sport England have funded previously and below examples of what can be funded - if you're not sure whether we can fund an item, please speak to us beforehand by contacting someone at Be Active.

  • Coaching – providing opportunities for those less likely to be active, offering them an activity they want to participate in.
  • Volunteer training – develop your organisation's volunteer base through offering training to both new and existing volunteers.
  • Service alterations –providing new ways of delivering your existing activity to attract new participants/members, for example offering outreach or web-based classes or targeting new audiences through connecting with other providers in your locality.
  • Additional equipment –to enable expansion of activity or safer delivery of activity, for example a defibrillator and associated costs (such as training for its use) as part of a wider project to deliver sport and physical activity.
  • Minor facility alterations – examples include adapting a community space to make it more accessible for those with mobility impairments, refurbishing a space to enable sport and physical activity to be offered or improving a space to make it more energy efficient. Please note, you must have, or provide confirmation that you don't need, the relevant planning permission/building control consent and/or landlord approval. Your application will not be successful unless you include this information in your application.

Sport England funding will support projects delivering recognised sports and physical activity – a full list of which can be found here.

What won't Sport England fund

Unfortunately, Sport England can't fund everything and this fund won't cover:

  • projects that don't meet the programme aims of tackling inequalities and bringing the community together
  • general running costs or existing costs of your organisation (e.g. utility bills, staffing etc.)
  • existing activity – although we may pay for additional costs associated with the expansion of that activity
  • construction/refurbishment projects where building regulations approval, planning permission, or landlord consent are needed and haven't yet been obtained
  • replacement of equipment
  • projects incurring costs prior to the date of an award letter
  • costs associated in submitting the application, e.g. paying someone to write your application for you
  • projects not ready to begin within six weeks (unless you explain why you need longer to prepare the project)
  • projects requiring Sport England funding for longer than 12 months
  • costs benefitting an individual (e.g. membership fees)
  • costs benefitting participants under five years of age (unless part of a family orientated project involving adults)
  • costs that aren't a direct responsibility of the applicant to cover (for example, costs associated with a facility not owned/leased by the applicant)
  • VAT you can recover
  • activity where there's a statutory responsibility – e.g. curriculum time delivery
  • activity where participants live outside England
  • projects delivering a high-risk sport where coaches or the applicant organisation isn't affiliated to the relevant national governing body
  • football-only/football dominant projects (such projects should consider The Football Foundation)

Who can apply

Sport England welcome applications from a wide range of not-for-profit organisations, provided your organisation has a minimum of three unrelated/non-cohabiting trustees or directors.

You must be able to show that decision making/voting rights are equitably distributed to be eligible for funding - incorporated bodies must show this on their Persons of Significant Control register.

If you are applying for over £10,000 then your organisation will be required to meet Tier one of our Governance Code.

Eligible types of organisations are:

  • a community amateur sports club (as registered with HMRC)
  • an unregistered voluntary and community organisation with a not-for-profit constitution
  • a registered charity
  • a not-for-profit company (limited by guarantee without share capital or charitable incorporated organisation)
  • a community interest company (CIC) or other social enterprise
  • community benefit society
  • a school using their facilities for wider community benefit.
  • local authority bodies (including town, parish and community councils).

Who can't apply

While the focus is on what will be achieved, there are some organisation types that aren't eligible for this fund.

Your organisation can't apply if you're:

  • an individual, sole trader or organisation with less than three people or where decision making is not equitably shared (e.g. an incorporated body with Persons of Significant Control)
  • a national governing body or Active Partnership
  • a commercial/for-profit entity
  • based outside the UK
  • an organisation applying on behalf of another.

Funding priorities

Sport England always get more applications than they're able to fund and therefore need to set priorities.

As noted above, Sport England particularly want to support projects working with people located in areas of high deprivation (specifically people living in areas defined by Indices of Multiple Deprivation 1-3). To see which area your project location fits into, you can use this postcode checker.

Sport England recognise there'll be many people who have lower levels of sport and physical activity outside those geographic areas.

Sport England have always tried to address inequalities through their funding and this programme is focused on tackling inequalities so all applications should explain how they do this.

Projects that are built from local experience and feedback from those who will participate; that bring together various groups and communities; and also make the most of local facilities and equipment will be more likely to be funded.

It's important your project can continue to run, or have a lasting legacy as a result of the funding.

You can use our Local Area Insights tool to help strengthen your application and help demonstrate the need for your project in your area.


Preparing your application

Remember that we know nothing about your project and so it's important you take your time to explain the essentials.

  • Who will benefit?
  • Why the project is needed.
  • How you'll deliver those benefits.

About your project

The best applications explain the problem they are trying to solve.

Think about the people you're going to work with and be clear how you know why they need this project.

Sport England particularly encourage applications that have been developed by the communities they'll support, as this helps show there's a need for the activity.

You should also think about other services that may currently be offered by other organisations in your area and explain how your project adds value to them.

Consider the potential impact or outcomes it'll have on participants, but be realistic with your targets and ambitions.


Tell Sport England the resources you need to deliver the activity and how you'll ensure your project is a success.

Make it clear how many people will benefit, how many sessions they'll attend and how you'll reach that target.

Be clear about whether your project is supporting existing or new participants.

Think about any other organisations you'll work with to help maximise the benefit of the project and how you'll achieve a legacy with the project.


A breakdown of what any potential funding will be spent on.

Consider whether your budget is offering the best value for money and includes all the costs you need to deliver the activity, even if you don't require all the money from us.

Supporting documents

To make our process simpler, we don't require you to provide any supporting documents at the time of application.

However, Sport England will need to undertake some checks on your organisation so may request documents such as accounts or governing documents from you if =they're looking to support your project.

If you have project plans, budget, letters of support or videos that show the impact of your work then feel free to upload them or provide links to them when you submit your application.

Should you be successful in securing grant funding, you'll be required to provide evidence of a bank account set up in the name of your organisation.

Register your organisation

Submit your application

Sport England looking for the best ideas, not the best written applications, and you should only write something you think really helps us understand how good your project is.

Focus on the points detailed above and use the guidance available by clicking on the '?' icon next to each question on the application form for more help.

Click here to apply