Applications are now open for the latest tranche of funding available through the Irish Football Association/Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) Grassroots Facilities Investment Fund.
The Grassroots Facilities Investment Fund 2023-25 aims to enable grassroots football clubs, local authorities, schools and football-focused sports community/charitable organisations in Northern Ireland to improve and refurbish facilities so that grassroots football clubs and communities have a high quality pitch to play on, thereby helping to create a better grassroots football infrastructure foundation.
Applications are now open with a closing date for submissions of Thursday 4 May 2023 (12 noon deadline).
The 2023-25 funding guidance notes, link to access the application process and associated documents can be accessed via the dedicated funding page: https://www.irishfa.com/dcmsfund
In 2021-22 and 2022-23 the Irish FA / DCMS Grassroots Facilities Investment Fund supported 54 small capital projects, improving grassroots facilities throughout Northern Ireland.
The latest tranche of funding will focus on delivering quality pitches and improving existing pitches that are not fit for purpose as well as addressing the deficit in pitch supply throughout Northern Ireland.
A total of £2 million of capital funding has been secured for 2023-24, with a further £3.59 million of capital funding to be delivered in 2024-25. The minimum award available will be £100,000, with a maximum award of up to £400,000.
Funding will be directed towards large capital projects primarily focusing on the installation of quality natural grass pitches, certified artificial grass pitches (AGPs) or Multi-Use Games Areas (MUGAs). All projects must have a pitch proposal at the core and associated infrastructure will be considered as part of the overall proposal.
The main objectives of the Irish FA/DCMS Grassroots Facilities Investment Fund are:
- To improve the capital infrastructure of grassroots football clubs across Northern Ireland
- To increase participation in sport and physical activity across Northern Ireland, improving mental and physical health of participants
- To increase participation in non-football sports through funding multi-sports facilities (40% of available investment)
- To reduce the postcode lottery for quality facilities by directing at least 50% of available investment to disadvantaged or areas of deprivation and boost participation in sport
- To deliver improved access for women and girls and other under-represented groups, to increase participation in these groups and improve availability and accessibility of facilities.
Funding applications for 2023-24 and 2024-25 will be opened in one application call. This is to commit funding and successfully deliver larger capital projects within the timeline available - over the next two financial years.
Successful projects must be completed by 31 March 2024 and/or 31 March 2025, subject to any phasing plan associated with a proposed scheme. Failure to complete the works in any phase year(s), as outlined in an application, by 31 March may result in the withdrawal of any award.
The Irish FA will maintain a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) log to help potential applicants get answers or clarification to their queries. If after reading the FAQ log the potential applicant still has funding queries, or is seeking further clarification, they should direct these queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Application forms and required supporting documentation must be uploaded and submitted electronically via the online application platform. The link to access the application process can be found on this page below along with guidance notes and associated documentation.
Applicants are reminded that funding applications are time consuming, require significant related research and preparation, and of course come with no guarantee of success. Before deciding to proceed and complete an application, those interested in making a submission should read the guidance notes carefully to confirm that any proposed project can meet the programme objectives.