The Tackling Inequalities Fund Continues to Adapt and Provide Support to the Liverpool City Region, Despite a Third National Lockdown

For this month’s edition of our roundup newsletter we’ve brought on board guest writer David Nevin, a Sports Journalism Masters student at LJMU. David has been busy interviewing some of our team and brings you a look at our work around Sport England’s Tackling Inequalities Fund.

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Since the late summer 2020, MSP has been directing Sport England’s Tackling Inequalities Fund (TIF) into the Liverpool City Region (LCR) to great effect. The fund’s priority groups are people from lower socio-economic groups, ethnically diverse communities, disabled people, and people with long-term health conditions (LTHC).

From the outset of the fund being made available within LCR it’s proved to be a great success, with 24 projects initially being supported that aimed to get these priority groups active, despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. The funding helped many different organisations meet the demands of the lockdown restrictions: by helping provide equipment to those not able to leave their homes; by facilitating online sessions and support to people at home; plus by helping support the cost of facility hire and instructor costs. The fund also helped provide organisations with valuable PPE and sanitisation equipment to keep the activities safe and prevent any spreads of COVID-19.

In a previous edition of its ‘roundup’ newsletter, MSP gave some examples of the projects that TIF funded during this early stage, which benefitted organisations and many people in the LCR. You can read the article here.

Speaking in a recent interview Danny Woodworth, Physical Activity and Sport Officer at MSP, said,

“These projects have successfully tackled the ‘here and now’ issues and have been able to adapt to various circumstances. This fund has helped keep organisations afloat during the pandemic and shows that MSP and TIF is here to support anyone, especially in a third lockdown that came so suddenly for so many people”

Danny added, “Organisations’ income and cash flow has been completely obliterated and especially at this time of the year in January, people want to be more active and go out and get gym memberships, start new classes, so just providing some sort of support and hope that we’re going to get through this and they (the organisations) are going to be okay financially, has been vitally important.”

Following the initial launch of the funding pot Sport England was able to increase its size, giving MSP the opportunity to tackle new and different challenges that have emerged. During the summer months the hot weather and easing of lockdown restrictions made physical activity and the delivery of projects more accessible. However, moving into the winter months and with the tightest of restrictions in place, activity has been less accessible to people. Undeterred though, MSP has continued to work with different organisations and Sport England to keep finding innovative ways of delivering activity and support to priority groups in the ‘here and now’. 

Andrew Wileman, Strategic Lead Sport and Physical activity at MSP, confirmed that, despite the change in weather and third national lockdown, MSP were funding 36 further projects with the release of additional funding and emphasised how important adapting to the circumstances was, to keep providing support to the organisations and priority groups around the LCR.

“The projects that have come forward are very much influenced by how we can deliver activity now to groups. So, a lot of the focus has been around using technology to engage virtually.”

“With government restrictions people can’t meet indoors and outdoors, so in terms of the projects that have come forward, they’ve had to be adaptable. So, those projects that use technology or are about providing equipment for people to use in their homes that have come forward are the ones that can take place now.”

Through the initial funding and subsequently with the release of the additional amount, MSP and the different organisations have continued to adapt successfully to the difficult circumstances that have arisen, to keep providing activity to those who need it most. TIF has provided so many organisations with the peace of mind that they can still continue to operate by whatever means are necessary, whether that be in person or online. It’s been vital for the people who the activity is being delivered to in these priority groups, as they can continue to live their lives as normally as possible and stay positive during a difficult time.

That’s it for this edition, however the team at MSP plan to bring you some in-depth stories from within some of these projects over the coming months to bring to life the specific impact for organisations and individuals who have received support.

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