British Equestrian (BEF) has launched a fund to help struggling riding centres that are tackling inequality.
The BEF has been awarded £150,000 Lottery funding by Sport England, to support struggling centres by providing immediate funding to “those most in need”.
It is targeted at centres and groups that provide activity for disabled people, which have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic but have been unable to secure other financial support.
In addition, applying centres will be judged on their work with people from Black, Asian and other minority ethinic communities, as well as those from “lower socio-economic backgrounds”.
“We know the immense benefits that being around horses can have for disabled people, so we are very grateful to Sport England for helping us to support centres in this way,” said BEF head of participation David Butler.
“We look forward to receiving applications and being able to help equestrian centres in financial need to continue the great work they do in providing riding activity for disabled participants in their community.”
Equestrian centres experiencing short-term financial hardship owing to the coronavirus can apply, and the funds can be used to pay bills and staff costs.
The grant is part of Sport England’s Tackling Inequalities Fund, which aims to “address inequalities in sport and activity levels by working with its partners to reach those most in need”.
“The funding will enable community groups working with target audiences — lower socio-economic groups, Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, disabled people and people with long-term health conditions — to continue to exist and engage with their communities with a view to keeping them active during both the lockdown and early recovery stages,” a BEF spokesman said.
Sport England chief executive Tim Hollingsworth said the body was proud to be able to offer the support.
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“The Tackling Inequalities Fund is supporting the valuable community infrastructure that is so important in keeping the nation active, and will also provide important connections and reconnections for people whose lives have been affected by Covid-19 and for whom remaining active is so important for their physical, mental and social wellbeing,” he said.
“We know from our research and data that there are existing inequalities between groups when it comes to activity levels, and Covid-19 has re-enforced these.”
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