COVID-19 – sector support

Government announcement – Return to Play

Recent announcement of reopening of gyms, leisure centres and grassroots sports clubs from Department of Digital Culture Media and Sport – The Government has outlined the measures that will allow outdoor pools to reopen from 11 July and indoor gyms, swimming pools and sports facilities to reopen from 25 July, ensuring millions of people can get back into more sport and fitness activities. Recreational team sports will be permitted to begin returning outdoors from 11 July.

Support for the physical activity and sport sector in the Liverpool City Region around the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is, without doubt, changing the world around us.

MSP is committed to helping the physical activity and sport sector here in the Liverpool City Region both react and adapt to the changes.

Our aim will be to:
• help you to adapt where you can
• support you where adapting isn’t an option
• identify opportunities in the short and long term.
• help shape how the future of the sector looks

We’ll be looking at what support we can signpost both organisations and individuals in the sector to via this page, which will be updated as things evolve.

Sport England Support

  • Open call for innovative solutions to tackle inequalities – We’re calling out for innovative solutions to reduce inequalities and help those most affected by the impact of coronavirus (Covid-19) to get active. The call, that will last for two weeks, is aimed at individuals or organisations that can help break down barriers to activity that have long-existed but have been exacerbated by coronavirus. Successful applicants will be supported by us with a combination of advice, further training, insight, access to connections across the industry, and funding. For more information click here.
  • If you’re running a Sport England-funded programme then the key message is that there’s going to be flexibility around delivery plans and targets. They’re also open to listening to suggestions to use previously agreed funds in new ways that will help you meet objectives, even if that means a re-think about how you do that to meet the needs of our now fast-changing world. Find out more.
  • Sport England have given clarity on how, when and where people can exerciseFind out more.
  • Find out about the Sport England Community Emergency Fund here.
  • Clubmatters – Clubs and organisations are experiencing lots of challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic. Club Matters is offering tips, tools and ideas to help keep your club functioning and working with your members and customers. Visit their page.
  • Latest Government Advice -Regularly update government guidance on getting active during coronavirus

Sport England’s Join the Movement campaign

Join the Movement is a campaign from Sport England, funded by The National Lottery, giving people the advice and tools they need to stay physically active while the country deals with the coronavirus outbreak.

As the situation evolves and restrictions gradually ease it’s hoped that the campaign will evolve to encourage people to keep up good activity habits formed during lockdown. So, the sport and physical activity sector is being encouraged to get behind the movement.

To ‘share the movement’ visit

Active’s Fit Together resources

‘Fit Together’ is UK Active’s industry-wide campaign to lead the reopening of fitness and leisure facilities by providing operators with the practical resources for a safe and successful return.

You can read their framework document here.

Plus, register to download the campaign toolkit here.

The toolkit contains helpful assets to help plan and communicate re-opening when the time is right, like the poster shown below.

‘Return to Play’ resources

Return to play is the term gaining traction in the sport and physical activity sector to refer to the re-starting planning and phased re-opening planning that sport and physical providers will need to go through to get going again in the ‘new normal’. When and how facilities and sessions can re-start is guided by the government, but there is much that can be done ahead of time to prepare.

Sport England has launched this dedicated page to support providers:

Activity Alliance guidance

As more opportunities to be active resume, new guidance has been released to help providers to enable welcoming and more accessible environments. Activity Alliance has published Reopening Activity: An inclusive response, in consultation with partners across sport, leisure and disability equality. The national charity wants providers to consider the guidance as part of their ongoing commitment to disabled people’s inclusion.

The guide to support providers is available to download

Working with MSP on ideas

  • Get in touch with us if you have innovative ideas that could help support and adapt the sector at this current time. We are monitoring sources of funding and may be able to consult with you to help shape ideas and react quickly to make the best use of available funding.

Mental Wellbeing Support

This is a difficult time for everyone and it’s important to take time to look after yourself. Keeping up a physical activity habit yourself will help hugely, but these links may just be useful too.


Charity Support

  • Support for charities and community organisations from The National Lottery Community Fund:Read the updated statement from Dawn Austwick, CEO, The National Lottery Community Fund: COVID-19 here.
  • LCVS Funding & Support page – updated daily. Visit here.
  • PH Hold Emergency Fund. In response to the pandemic, PH Holt Foundation has opened an emergency fund. The funder is now welcoming applications from small and medium-sized Merseyside charities. To be eligible for an emergency grant, you must be a registered charity in Merseyside with an income under £1 million. Grants start at £1,000, with most awards falling between £5,000-£10,000. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Apply now, via the PH Holt website
  • NCVO Funding and support page Visit here
  • Chairty Bank have a list of available funding resources for charities.

Business Support

  • COVID-19 support from Growth Platform. Growth Platform is Liverpool City Region’s economic enabler, designed to support people and businesses to realise their potential and generate growth. Here is their dedicated COVID-19 support page.
  • Government Business Support (inc. self-employed support): Visit the official government business support page here.Page covers:
    • Funding and support
    • Self-employed people and sole traders
    • Your responsibilities as an employer
    • Managing your business during coronavirus
    • Business closures
    • How you can help
  • HMRC tax helpline to support businesses affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). More information about what the helpline can support you with is available here. The number to call is 0800 0159 559.
  • The Federation of Small Businesses COVID-19 advice page. Both FSB members and non-members can access this information page.
  • Facebook Small Business Grants. Details here.
  • Steve Morgan Foundation Emergency Fund. In response to Covid-19 pandemic Steve Morgan Foundation has introduced an emergency fund to support charities and not for profit companies in our remit area (Merseyside, North Wales and Cheshire west of M6). Find out more.
  • Guidance for local authorities setting out details of the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF). Details here.
  • UK Active have set a 4 stage plan to support the physical activity sector. Details here

Coaching Support

  • UK coaching support for coaches. UK Coaching has launched its ‘Antidote for Coaches Side-lined by COVID-19’. They’ve temporarily unlocked 10 of their key subscriber resources making them available to all registered on These will remain freely available until 3 May.The idea is to help you with your learning and development journey by finding methods to support you while sport remains in limbo. They hope this small measure will go some way to helping you maintain a sense of positivity in these trying times, and are also exploring further learning and development solutions going forward.  Check out what’s on offer here.
  • Online Safeguarding and protection courses 
  • Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU) have resources for clubs and organisations to utilise best practice in remote teaching and coaching. Visit their website to learn more.
  • LTA have advice for Tennis coaches with regards to coronavirus. Find out more.
  • Guidance for personal trainers and coaches on the phased return of sport and recreation in England from the government. Details here


Government guidance on the phased return of sport and recreation in light of Coronavirus (COVID-19):

LCR Pride Foundation launches £20,000 Community Fund

  • The General Fund, which currently stands at £14,000, will be open to any project supporting the LGBT+ community in the Liverpool City Region and applicants can apply for grants of up to £1,000.In line with the foundation’s 2020 theme ‘Young at Heart’, which focuses on health and wellness in the city region’s LBGT+ community, there will also be a dedicated.
  • Inclusive Physical Activity and Sport Fund of £3,000. This fund will allow applications up to £500 and will be open to projects that bring the LGBT+ community in the city region together to get active or to support its wider wellbeing.

Mandatory closure of indoor fitness studios, gyms, swimming pools or other indoor leisure centres.

  • As of 20th March the list of businesses and other venues subject to further social distancing measures in our sector includes indoor fitness studios, gyms, swimming pools or other indoor leisure centres (the situation is changing rapidly, so this list could increase going forward). It’s important that we highlight that those closures are now enforceable by law due to the threat to public health. Businesses operating in contravention of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closures) Regulations 2020 will be committing an offence.
    Links to the support available to businesses in light of this are included in this government website article, which includes more detail.
  • Swimathon Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund that has now launched!The Fund will offer a limited number of grants to support small organisations working in the swimming and aquatics community in the UK, so that they can continue to operate during and after these especially difficult times. Information and criteria for organisations wishing to apply can be found here. If you are part of a small swimming or aquatics organisation, or know anyone that is, then please use or share the link above. The Swimathon Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund may be able to provide financial support in testing times. Find out more.
  • Keeping your loyal customer/ participant base moving when you’re not able to deliver sessions. We know that this is a worrying time for those who aren’t able to deliver their sessions face-to-face. For some physical activity and sport providers offering ‘virtual’ classes or workout programmes is one option you might like to explore. However, if this isn’t viable for you and you’d like to direct your existing customers base to alternative home-based or social-distancing-friendly activity options we’ve compiled a list here. This should help them keep up good habits, ready for when you’re able to start delivering face-to-face again.
  • Free Courses from Open Learn. Open Learn are offering free courses in exploring sport coaching and psychology. If have you experience of sport or fitness either as a participant or a coach or inquisitive about how sport works behind the scenes then check out the link here
  • Charted Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMPSA) Stronger Together Portal. CIMPSA have created this hub as a place where we can bring together advice and practical assistance on coronavirus (Covid-19), including generous offers of support from many partners. The following below are links to the sub sections of support from the portal;Stronger Together – Introduction Page , Support for the Sector , Support for Business, Support for Individuals
  • Active at Home Guidebook during the coronavirus pandemic. Click here to read a copy.
Lottery Funded and Sport England logos