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Return to play

Sector support advice for organisations, clubs and individuals.

As lockdown restrictions lift, the information and advice is changing. This page is designed to support and signpost organisations to the most up to date information. See also our advice page on staying active.

Return to play

There’s a lot for sport and physical activity providers to consider as lockdown restrictions evolve including.

Leisure facility updates

As facilities open up, local authorities are giving updates of what is open and the precautions we all need to take to return to play safely

South Yorkshire


West Yorkshire



Government Information

The Government website details a range of financial measures that the Government has introduced for businesses and organisations experiencing an inability to deliver services.  

These measures include: 

  • a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) 
  • deferring VAT and Self-Assessment payments 
  • a Self-employment Income Support Scheme 
  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) 
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England 
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief 
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000 
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for  SME s through the British Business Bank 
  • This Government website is specifically for Sports clubs and other VCS organisations that are registered charities.  It guides you through critical questions about getting support to pay staff, use of reserves, governance changes required (such as meeting via video conferencing rather than facetoface), account reporting, and keeping people safe.  
  • On April 8 2020, the Government announced an extra £750m emergency funding for front line charities. We will update this as soon as more details emerge  
  • 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 Local Government Association publishes a series of COVID-19 FAQs 

Sport England information

  • Read the latest updates on Sport England’s Return to Play pages
  • 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 has two immediate priorities over this period:
    1. Supporting the sector: Action to ensure it comes through this period in as strong a position as possible; and
    2. Keeping the nation moving: Doing everything they can to encourage people to stay active, wherever possible, which we all think is now more important than ever.
    They know this is a hugely challenging time for all partners, and the sport and physical activity sector as a whole. They have been listening to as many of you as possible to get an early picture of the impact that coronavirus (COVID-19) is having.
  • CEO Tim Hollingsworth hosted a webinar on Friday 27 March to provide a summary of their response to the challenges of COVID-19. View the webinar

June update on their “Return to play”: included:

  • inclusion and accessibility guidance – helping you to understand who can get active, how you can engage specific audiences and how to ensure your facilities are, and remain, accessible to all when allowed to reopen.
  • support for the professional workforce – including advice on staffing considerations for paid works as well as support available.
  • volunteering guidance – setting out some of the main considerations to help your volunteers return safely, well-informed and prepared.
  • managing liability and risk guidance – to give providers, be they clubs, governing bodies, community groups or regional associations, advice on what issues need considering and how they might tackle them in order to safely return to play.

Sport England Community Emergency Fund - June 15 update

Find out how where clubs have been successful in receiving funding in each district.

Contact our Research and Insight manager Emma Gooch for more information

Funding, support and advice

If your organisation is suffering financially or you want help to move your activities online, our staff will try and identify funds that can help.

  • Sport England Community Emergency Fund Any organisation delivering community sport and physical activity experiencing short term financial hardship or the ceasing of operations due to the impact of coronavirus. Note: This fund is temporarily paused to new applications.
    Grants are available between £300 and £10,000.
    Update: temporarily paused to new applications.

    (Sport England have temporarily closed their applications for Community Asset Fund and the Small Grants Fund to concentrate on the Emergency fund applications. They are hoping to re-open them in June.)


  • Virtually Active  is a Yorkshire Sport Foundation project for local organisations that are part of any of our current programmes (such as Satellite Clubs, Active Dearne) that is being primarily funded via Sport England and The National Lottery.   Virtually Active is a small grant programme offering these organisations £200 to deliver free, live streamed opportunities for anyone to get active at home. Sessions will be added to our Virtually Active activity and class finder which helps participants find and join live streamed activities and classes to join and stay active while at home. 
  • 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.
  • West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership (WY&H HCP) have launched their Health Inequalities Grant Fund Funding of up to £450,000 for voluntary and community organisations to help them tackle the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on people’s health. Find out more here.
  • Covid-19 Guide for charities and Social Enterprises – Big Society Capital / Good Finance guidance document
  • The Federation of Small Businesses COVID-19 advice page: Both FSB members and non-members can access this information page.
  • The Good Finance website provides a checklist about what clubs and organisations should be paying attention to and some information about where help is available. 
  • Use our funding finder
  • There is also a range of other financial support available in each local authority area across West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire. Development Team and Local Support Team staff to offer advice and support as required. Details can be found here.


UK Coaching / CPSU are now providing Online Classrooms for ‘Safeguarding and Protecting Children’ to enable coaches to access.

CPSU – Coronavirus (COVID-19) and safeguarding in sport – The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic presents new safeguarding challenges for all those working or volunteering with children. We will compile our latest information and resources for those in the sports sector here.

Safeguarding for virtual activities: Safeguarding guidance from the NSPCC is here and covers online safety, including some good practice where activities are being live-streamed. The NSPCC are working to further develop this guidance and the CPSU will be adapting this for the sports sector.

Other support for clubs

  • If club officials have a little more time than usual at the moment, here are some online learning platforms about how they can further develop your club beyond the Covid-19 lockdown.
  • Our activity finder now shows virtual activities, and it’s free to use. Here are the virtual activities already listed, and here’s how to get started. We are part of the Open Data initiative and so activities will be able to be seen in national platforms like This Girl Can and Change4life.
  • Using #StayInWorkOut on social media when posting things to keep people active. the Join the Movement campaign is designed to provide inspiration and trusted information to the public about how to get active in and around the home during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Club officials can complete the Club Matters improvement tool  for helpful advice on areas where you can enhance your club.
  • Club officials could learn from coaching peers, or pass on some knowledge with the Curious Coaches Club.
  • Mind, the mental health charity, has a pulled together fantastic resources for clubs.
  • We’ve worked with North Yorkshire Sport and Active Humber to launch the Yorkshire and Humber Learning Community.

The Club Matters website was updated in June with ‘Return to play’ guidance, including:

    • reopening toolkit – this includes information on how your club/organisation can plan its return to sport, with advice on what you need to think about across different areas such as reopening your facility and protecting your people.
    • risk register template – this template, with a dedicated user guide, is designed to help your club/organisation introduce or update your practices regarding how you manage risks.
    • creating a risk assessment – this draws from the current Health and Safety Executive advice and provides step-by-step guidance to help organisations address risk, including coronavirus-specific considerations.
    • social distancing guidance – this resource covers the different practices and considerations your club/organisation may need to introduce so that social distancing can be implemented in line with current government advice.
  • Duty to Care Toolkit, (available from July 27) UKCoaching.org, is set across five areas, known as pillars – Diversity, Inclusion, Mental Health, Safeguarding and Well-being – the Toolkit will challenge coaches to demonstrate their knowledge around the principles of duty to care. Coaches will be sign-posted to a comprehensive suite of learning resources designed to help them deliver and adapt sessions safely, create diverse and inclusive environments and look after the mental health and well-being of both themselves and their participants.
  • ReActivate – a new, free, digital training platform for coaches and volunteers from CIMSPA and Sport England. It provides online training content covering areas including risk management, social distancing, cleaning and use of equipment; along with refresher training and Covid-specific procedures. From July16, more info here

Mental wellbeing

  • Mind – Sector Support: As part of Mind’s sector support offer there is a brand new series of webinars to support the sport and physical activity sector to do more around mental health. The aim of the webinar series is to up-skill organisations so they are able to support people with mental health problems to get active.

    The webinars will cover a range of topics and will be delivered over the next 12 months. More information and webinar bookings can be found on the Eventbrite page, and will also be published on the website soon. In the meantime, you can access the first three webinars below.

    Mental health support for the sport and physical activity sector
    Weds 1 April 2020, 11:30am – 12:15pm
    Book your place

    Mental health training for the sport and physical activity sector
    Thurs 21 May 2020, 11:30am – 12:15pm
    Book your place

    Volunteering – insight from Get Set to Go and our Mental Health Champions guide
    Tues 2 June 2020, 11:30am – 12:15pm
    Book your place

  • 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.Mental health charity Mind has put together detailed advice and information on coronavirus and wellbeing. Practise relaxation and mindfulness to boost your mood. Try this mindful breathing exercise from Every Mind Matters, and read hints and tips on mindfulness from the NHS.
  • Every Mind Matters – Translations of the new Now more than ever mental health “10 top tips” Twitter and Facebook assets are now available in Polish, Russian, Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati, Romanian, Roma and Somali.

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.

Search here for online activities!

To publish your online activity:

  1. Log in or create an account here yorkshire.sportsuite.co.uk
  2. Add your activity,  yorkshire.sportsuite.co.uk/
     and select “Online” location



Yorkshire Sport Foundation are proud to support OpenActive.

We want to make it as easy to find and book a tennis court as it is to book a hotel room.

Making data about where and when activities happen openly available is one step towards improving digital services in the sector.

Our activity finder is provided through Sportsuite that both publishes to Openactive data standards and also shows results from other Openactive standard feeds.

Want to add an activity, promote a job, course or volunteer opportunity?

Sign and promote your opportunity on our national finder.

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