Dunstable Swimming club spreads the word about national fund to save grassroots sports

The fund helped the club through the pandemic

Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 5:05 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 5:06 pm
Dunstable Swimming Club raised vital funds through Crowdfunding

Dunstable Swimming Club has joined the campaign for a new national fund to support grassroots sport and fitness clubs, launched by Tokyo 2021 gold & silver medal winning triathlete Alex Yee.

Despite training Team GB swimmers, the Club’s income collapsed during the pandemic and Dunstable SC had to turn to Crowdfunding to save their finances and future. They were able to get back on their feet with help from a new £5m fund by Crowdfunder and Sport England aimed at helping grassroots sports clubs bounce back from the pandemic.

It comes as research from Sport England reveals 97% of local sports clubs in England lost income because of lockdowns and covid restrictions, with many facing permanent closure.

Tim Hutton, DSC’s Head Coach who trained Team GB’s Harry Costantine said: “Grassroots sports clubs are so important because they’ve provided a foundation for every elite athlete we have in this country. Dunstable Swimming Club provides opportunities for all swimmers across the community, from those looking for Olympic medals to those just looking to keep fit.

“Our swimmers didn’t realise the mental health benefits of swimming until we were in lockdown - since then our appreciation of the club has gone up massively.”

This year they raised £16,147 with help from Crowdfunder’s fundraising coaches and match-funding from Sport England.

Sarah Cooper, a fundraiser at the club said: "After losing our revenue due to Covid, the £16,000 we raised on Crowdfunder was desperately needed - for the club and our members. The funds raised will help us expand and improve, helping our members stay fit and be part of the brilliant community we have because of our club.

“Crowdfunder gave me advice on how to improve our application, so it was more appealing to donors and match-funding organisations like Sport England. We couldn’t have done it without them. There are no fees on Crowdfunder for campaigns like ours, which was also really helpful."

There are over 72,000 sports clubs across England staffed by 4.6m volunteers and serving more than 11m people . The new funding from Sport England enables grassroots sports clubs and organisations to apply for match-funding of up to £10k via Crowdfunder, providing a vital lifeline for clubs hit by financial loss during the pandemic.

Alex Yee launched the new fund with his childhood club Crystal Palace Triathletes. He said: "We need these brilliant clubs. Not only do they raise Olympic champions but increase participation, activity and improve mental health. They play a huge role in keeping communities together and people happy. I really don't think we're in a position where we can afford to lose them."

Murry Toms, Campaign Director at Crowdfunder, said: “At Crowdfunder, we saw first-hand how many sports clubs struggled during the pandemic. Many of the clubs who came to us for support told us their usual funding streams had dried up.

“It’s vital we support clubs at this level to identify and nurture the next generation of talent and provide a focal point for communities across the country. Our partnership with Sport England will help us make a bigger impact, meaning we can channel extra funding into club projects.”

Mike Diaper, Executive Director Tackling Inactivity at Sport England said: “Crowdfunder is a brilliant platform which enables clubs and organisations to build stronger ties to their communities.

“Made possible by the National Lottery, we’re delighted to make £5m of funding available as part of our Active Together partnership. Sports clubs, charities and other community organisations who deliver sport or activity in England are able to apply for up to £10,000 in match funding to help their communities get active.”

Crowdfunder also offers 0% platform fees for non-profit fundraisers and enables rewards-based fundraising and free prize draws - all designed to give fundraisers the best tools to attract public support.