By Betsy Everett
An outdoor education centre in Wensleydale which was facing “major stress” after being forced into temporary closure because of the covid-19 pandemic, has been thrown a £10,000 lifeline to help ensure its long-term survival.
Low Mill centre in Askrigg, which takes groups from all over the country for a wide range of sports activities, has received the National Lottery funding from Sport England’s community emergency fund.
The outbreak of the virus and the consequent shutdown of businesses on March 23 left the sport and physical activity sector throughout the country facing a period of uncertainty, said the head of centre at Askrigg, Terry Hailwood.
He described the award as “fantastic support.”
He added: “Low Mill is trying desperately to react to the current crisis and support staff and customers, while safeguarding the charity that will be so deeply needed in the months and years to come when communities start to re-connect and re-build. The last few weeks have put a major stress on us as a charity. The centre continues to consume overhead costs with no income to support it, as schools, youth and social groups are closed.”
In response to the national crisis, on March 31 Sport England announced a £195m package to help the sector, including £20 million of National Lottery money to deliver immediate funding to those who have a role in supporting the nation to be active but who are experiencing short-term hardship or even in some instances facing closure.
“The grant will cover running costs and the overheads of the residential centre, ensuring we can survive the temporary closure,” said Terry. “We will then be in a strong position to carry on delivering outdoor adventure sports to young people after this crisis. The need for personal development, robustness and resilience in young people will be needed more than ever.”
Tim Hollingsworth, Sport England’s Chief Executive, said:
“As the body responsible for the growth of sport and physical activity participation, we want the vital grassroots organisations that make it happen not just to come through this crisis but to be in a position to thrive again in the future. The £20m community emergency fund, made possible by National Lottery players, is part of a multimillion pound package of support we are providing.
“We are proud to be able to provide vital funding to Low Mill Outdoor Centre to help it through these extremely challenging times.”
Sport England is a public body and invests up to £300 million of National Lottery and government money each year in projects and programmes that help people get active and play sport. Further information on the Community Emergency Fund can be found at https://www.sportengland.org/how-we-can-help/our-funds/community-emergency-fund. [kofi]