Launched last year, the Sport Wales: A Place for Sport fund with Crowdfunder UK has been supporting the sports sector to create and improve their facilities with up to £15,000 in funding.

It’s a very different fund to anything offered previously in Wales as it requires clubs to raise at least half of the money themselves by crowdfunding via the Crowdfunder website. 

Over the last six months, £107,150 of +Extra funding has been distributed to 21 crowdfunding projects who, combined with the funding, have raised £222,747 from the crowd. Algae and power lines are among the more unusual subjects that have received funding through this initiative to improve the overall experience of grassroots sport.

Among the clubs who embraced the opportunity are the Ponthir Sports and Community Club in Newport. As overhead power lines blighted a large area of their Oaklands sportsground, the club set up a crowdfunding project to raise enough money to pay Western Power to bury the cables so that more sport can be played there. A £10,500 grant from Sport Wales helped the club to achieve their overall £35,000 fundraising target. 

In Flintshire, funding is being used to remove poisonous blue green algae from the ‘Park in the Past’ beauty spot to make a lake suitable for swimming, kayaking and diving all year round. Boosted by £4,050 from Sport Wales, a local community group raised a total of £13,560 to pay for a sustainable water treatment programme which includes the installation of two ultrasonic buoys that will emit ultrasound waves. The soundwaves are harmless to the wildlife in the lake, but will reduce the dangerous algae by over 90%.  

Matt Stevenson‑Dodd, Volunteer at Park In The Past, said: “We knew lots of local people wanted to use the lake and would support us, but we just had to find a way to tell them. With lots of hard work we were still £4,000 off target when we came close to the initial end date. We decided to extend the deadline by two weeks and promoted the fundraiser harder than ever, creating new ‘rewards’ and promoting things like ‘free swims for a year’ or ‘buy one get one free’ on Kayaking. As the deadline approached, we achieved the target with just a few hours to spare and support from 157 individuals who pledged £13,560 in total.

“The ultrasonic buoys were deployed to the lake a couple of weeks later and have already made a huge difference to the level of algae, ahead of the park re-opening on 1st May 2022. If you’re ever visiting Northeast Wales, why not come and see for yourself and have a swim in our beautiful lake.” 

Other successful off-field projects have included clubs raising money towards clubhouse and changing room renovations, refurbishments to kitchen facilities, accessibility adaptations for disabled users, and the installation of perimeter fencing.   

Owen Hathway, Sport Wales’ Assistant Director for Insight, Policy and Public Affairs, said: “We trialled ‘A Place for Sport’ for six months and are pleased to now be extending it for the next year. Clubs have created some really appealing crowdfunding campaigns that have drawn support from hundreds of individuals in their local communities.  

“When running a crowdfunding campaign, volunteers learn a host of useful skills around member and community engagement, social media communications, business to business marketing and general fundraising.  

“As a result, this process helps clubs become sustainable for the long-term and set themselves up in a way that creates a cycle of success, not simply a positive one-off application for funding.  

“We’ve been really impressed with how clubs have come up with creative solutions to problems – both big and small – that will make grassroots sport better, either by improving the all-round experience, helping a club become more economically sustainable, or by contributing positively to the environment.” 

Further examples of the types of projects that might receive Sport Wales funding, should they meet certain criteria, include clubs raising funds for solar panels, generators, storage, CCTV cameras, performance analysis equipment, or to set up websites and booking systems. 

Rob Love, Crowdfunder’s CEO, said: “Sport Wales’ A Place for Sport fund has been a fantastic example of community spirit in Wales. The fund is designed for the enhancement of spaces in the local community, improving the community experience and the environmental and financial sustainability of off-field facilities.

“We’ve seen a great range of projects so far that have really embraced crowdfunding and, as a result, have raised awareness for their club, encouraged new members and, of course, raised vital funds to improve facilities for their communities.”

A 30-minute online webinar is being held on Tuesday 10 May from 12pm – 12:30pm to help clubs learn more about crowdfunding and how to access Sport Wales funding. 

For more information and to find out how to apply, please go to https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/funds/sport-wales