It was great news this week for the Northland sporting sector, with regional sporting organisations (RSOs) across the region preparing to resume their sporting competitions in the coming weeks now that the gathering limit has been increased to 100 by the Government.

While that will help shore up some short-term income challenges for these organisations, the loss of other income sources - such as gaming trust funding and sponsorship - is taking its toll on many of the winter RSOs.

The same challenge is also being felt by the hundreds of sports clubs across Northland, especially those with the added cost of operating and maintaining clubrooms.

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With limited sources of alternative funding available for these organisations, many have turned to Sport NZ's Community Resilience Fund (CRF) for a short buffer to help them pay for the immediate fixed costs they will face in the coming months.

Sport Northland is managing and distributing the CRF across the region on behalf of Sport NZ, and is looking for more applications to help sports organisations get through their short-term funding pain.

The CRF aims to deliver funding to help clubs and RSOs remain financially viable through the immediate period of disruption created by Covid-19.

It is specifically targeted at recreation and sports organisations affiliated to Sport NZ investment partners and to Māori organisations whose main focus is the delivery of sport and recreation, but are experiencing short-term financial hardship due to the impact of Covid-19.

Sport Northland chief executive Brent Eastwood. Photo / Tania Whyte
Sport Northland chief executive Brent Eastwood. Photo / Tania Whyte

Māori recreation and sports organisations which are not affiliated to a Sport NZ national partner can still receive endorsement from one of Sport NZ's Māori partners and would therefore be eligible for financial support.

Financial hardship means difficulty in paying bills for administrative costs incurred in the period April to June 2020, regardless of whether programmes are being delivered.

Costs included phones, power, insurance, rent, audit fees, equipment hire, IT support arrangements, accountancy support and costs of events or programmes that had to be cancelled (not just delayed) because of Covid-19.

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Up to $1000 is available for clubs, and up to $40,000 for RSOs. To date, less than 40 applications have been submitted, meaning that there are hundreds of recreation and sports organisations either missing out on the available funding, or have yet to complete their application.

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I would urge all club and RSO administrators to find out more information on the Sport Northland website and would encourage all eligible organisations to apply for the fund before it closes on Friday, June 19.

If you have any specific queries, please send these through to funding@sportnorth.co.nz