The Sports Development and Service Manager presented the above report, previously circulated to Members. The purpose of the report was to seek Members’ approval for a Club Maintenance Programme for sports clubs in 2019/20, utilising underspends from existing budgets from the Support for Sport Fund and the Everybody Active (EBA) 2020 Active Awards Grant Aid Programmes.
Councillor McHugh welcomed the establishment of the fund and endorsed the recommendation within the report. However, he expressed disappointment that it was just a one off programme. In terms of the ambitions listed within the playing pitch strategy and the aspirations, a funding stream of this type and envisaged the fund to be a lot larger than £60,000. He stated that there were a number of clubs throughout the City and District who had been very pro-active in terms of securing their own land and doing their own fundraising.
Councillor Tierney stated that he was happy to endorse the recommendation within the report. However he also would have liked the budget to be higher. He stated that each club had been allowed to apply for the maximum of £2,000 to assist with the maintenance of their playing facilities and although it offered some assistance, it would not go far enough. He enquired if the programme could be rolled out in the future as clubs could then continue to have the opportunity to obtain the funding. He asked that officers consider the possibility of extending the programme and the budget allocation. He stated that although there may be an implication on the rates process it was important to consider the continuation of the funding.
Councillor McHugh noted that £60,000, with a maximum of £2,000, would be allocated to approximately 30 clubs. He stated that there will be a lot of disappointed sports groups considering the large amount of clubs throughout the City and District.
In response, the Director of Health and Community advised that officers would to address the issue of whether the programme be extended and the associated financial implications. She suggested that pressure also be asserted to other organisations who were developing funding programmes, such as Sports Council NI who were currently submitting a funding bid DfC. She stated that established facilities who owned their own clubs should hopefully be a priority and that an action plan was being developed to support the Playing Pitch Strategy for inclusion. She advised that there would be inevitable funding implications however, there was an opportunity for Members and sports clubs to provide input going forward. She stated that Council had previously requested a focus on voluntary, self-owned facilities rather than Council ownedNow appointing someone to take forward that secondary piece of detailed work. Previously Council had requested, particularly would focus on voluntary, self-owned facilities rather than Council owned services.
PUT IN BRIAN’S RECOMMENDATION
Recommended That Members (i) approve the delivery of the 2019/20 Club Maintenance Grant Aid Programme and (ii) that Officers look at increasing the funding amount and also extending the programme.