Funding for club rugby during Covid-19 pandemic
Scottish Rugby has today published a full outline of the £2 million in funding support allocated to Scotland’s rugby clubs over the two years of the pandemic.
As public health restrictions enter, what is hopefully, their final phase two years on from the first national lockdowns and suspension of all community rugby, a table outlining how Scottish Rugby has provided financial support to the clubs, and how this was distributed, is now available.
During the pandemic Scottish Rugby provided the clubs with funding which came from four different channels. Each channel was developed to both support our clubs with financial aid during the lockdown periods and ensure the eventual return to rugby activity was as positive as possible.
The Club Hardship Fund (CHF) of £500,000 was set up in March 2020 by Scottish Rugby. The focus of the CHF was to support clubs with financial aid during the lockdown period when no rugby activity could take place nor income generated.
The first batch of applications was received in April 2020 with £387,110 awarded in June 2020 to 82 separate clubs. A further £42,664 was awarded over the course of the next year to 53 clubs to support the reopening of activities and facilities.
The first phase of the Club Hardship Fund was designed to support clubs experiencing difficulties covering their costs in the following four categories: People, Premises, Utilities and Grounds.
As an example, Dunfermline received funding to support essential ground maintenance works to their pitches, which if left unattended, would have prevented a smooth return to rugby.
The second phase of the CHF was focused on supporting clubs with pre-reopening checks including testing for Legionella in the water systems and Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) for electrical equipment. Clubs could choose to undertake these tests through their current supplier or use the discounted checks organised by Scottish Rugby through HF Electrical.
The Club Recovery Fund (CRF) was opened in early 2021 thanks to £500,000 from the Scottish Government. The CRF was designed to support clubs preparing for a Return to Rugby with focus on preparation of their facilities. Clubs could apply for three funding levels and 111 clubs were successful in receiving funds to the value of £565,985.
Many applications sought support for maintenance, including Aberdeen Grammar, which applied for funds to repair crossbars and its stand, which had been damaged by fire caused by vandals taking advantage of the unattended facility during lockdown.
Return to Rugby events were then supported by the Scottish Government’s Kickstart Fund. The total awarded to clubs and referee societies from this fund was £683,119 to 114 clubs.
Dundee Rugby Club utilised their Kickstart funding to host their inaugural ‘Dundee City 7s’ tournament. The event saw over 300 players across mini, youth and senior rugby return to the field over two days.
A further £300,000 was used to support Scottish Rugby’s Return to Rugby promotional campaigns to assist the clubs in the marketing of the return of the game. Of this amount, £75,000 was invested into the Everyone’s Game campaign which included over half of the funding going to the clubs in the form of club packs, of which 120 were distributed.
Scottish Rugby Schools Week has also received £75,000 from this fund, the majority of which will be spent in the second Schools Week later this month (21-25 March). So far, 623 schools have signed up to participate and it is being additionally supported by the title sponsor, Saltire Energy.
A further £150,000 of Scottish Government funding was allocated equally across Scottish Rugby’s five regions of operational activity – Caledonia North, Caledonia Midlands, East, Glasgow North and Glasgow South.
This funding has been allocated to support the regions with a number of development projects including Women & Girls development programmes, competitions within the regions state schools, walking rugby initiatives and an autism friendly rugby pilot.