The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has today confirmed a Sport Winter Survival Package for 11 sports impacted by the absence of spectators due to the pandemic, of which England Netball is one.
In today’s statement it outlined that netball would be eligible to receive £2 million towards England Netball activities and £2 million in support of the Vitality Netball Superleague after facing significant financial pressure in 2020. The overall support package is reported as a mixture of both grant and loan funding.
Prior to the pandemic, netball in this country was experiencing huge growth in all areas of the sport from viewing figures to participation numbers. England Netball’s participation programmes were growing year on year with 1.6 million women and girls taking to courts across the country and the start of the Vitality Netball Superleague season enjoying record attendances.
When COVID-19 hit England Netball was forced to halt all netball activity in March from grassroots to elite level, which included the postponement of home international events and the cancellation of the 2020 Vitality Netball Superleague season.
Since March, England Netball has been doing all it can digitally to keep women and girls engaged with the sport in a bid to prevent female activity levels from dropping and the loss of all spectators when it’s safe for fans to return to arenas.
Fran Connolly, CEO of England Netball, said: “It is a huge relief to hear that England Netball has been named amongst the beneficiaries eligible for this funding. Netball in this country has been significantly impacted by the pandemic, suffering particularly from the loss of ticketing revenues at a club and country level, so this is very welcome news.
“I’d like to thank Government and DCMS colleagues for recognising the challenges faced by our sport and for stepping in with this much needed survival package.
“We are passionate about playing our part in protecting the incredible progress made by female sports over the past couple of years and building on the momentum from the 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup. This survival package has come at a crucial time for England Netball and the Vitality Netball Superleague and we look forward to working through the next steps of the process to release these vital funds that will benefit the grassroots and elite levels of our sport.”
Each of the 11 sports named in the survival package will now need to go through an application process to access the support they are eligible for under the final design of the scheme, which will be managed by Sport England. The final amount and funding make-up will be determined by this process and may differ from the amounts currently outlined.