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Further £20m earmarked for 'simplified' Inspired Facilities fund

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Sport England has released an additional £20m worth of funding to be distributed through its Inspired Facilities fund.

Aimed at helping grassroots sports clubs, schools and local authorities renovate and modernise their sports facilities, the fund has already distributed £71m to fund 1,300 projects since 2011. In total, £110m will be made available to redevelopments though the fund.

It has, however, been suggested by some applicants that receiving grants from the Inspired Facilities fund is a time-consuming exercise, not helped by the amount of red tape attached to it – and its original format of being tied to yearly cycles and set deadlines.

To assist applicants, this year Sport England has adjusted the applying procedures and clubs and authorities will now be able to apply for funding all year round.

Charles Johnston, Sport England property director, said: "Based on applicants' feedback, we've worked hard to simplify the application process, making improvements after each round.

"Inspired Facilities is now an open programme, meaning projects can submit applications as soon as they are ready rather than being restricted by specific deadlines.

Johnston added that while each application is dealt with as quickly as possible, clubs and local authorities can speed up the process by submitting accurate information and taking time to make sure they meet the criteria.

"We try our best to ensure the time clubs have to wait between applying and receiving an answer is kept as short as possible," Johnston said.

"The time it takes to reach a decision is approximately 16 weeks, during this time our team assesses and follows up on any additional information needed for applications.

"To ensure applications are processed swiftly clubs should ensure that the application is made in the right name and not in the name of the freeholder or lease holder.

"It is also important that those applying for funding do not rush the application and read the guidance thoroughly and supply any necessary documentation.

"Finally, applicants need to be forthcoming about unconfirmed partnership funding as it can delay the process when we have to consult with partnering bodies."

To read more about Inspired Facilities and how to apply, click here.

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Sport England has released an additional £20m worth of funding to be distributed through its Inspired Facilities fund.
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