ILMINSTER Bowling & Tennis Club has been awarded £4,500 of National Lottery funding from Sport England’s Community Emergency Fund, to go towards the club’s ongoing running costs during lockdown.

The outbreak of coronavirus and the consequent shutdown of businesses as of March 23 has left the sport and physical activity sector facing a period of uncertainty.

On March 31, Sport England announced a £195m package to help the sector to get through COVID-19.

Within the package is a £20m Community Emergency Fund, coming from the National Lottery, to deliver immediate funding to those who have a role in supporting the nation to be active but are experiencing short-term financial hardship or the ceasing of operations.

The grant will allow Ilminster Bowling & Tennis Club to continue paying its running costs while the club is shut to all activities.

The money will help the club pay its insurance, electric, gas, water and outstanding purchases which are on monthly payments.

“We are delighted to have be awarded this money to help with the club’s ongoing running costs,” said Matt Hamilton, Ilminster management committee officer.

“Without this money there is a significant impact on the club’s financial position and it would mean that, when we do reopen after this lockdown, the facilities and service we offer to members and customers would not be as before, with limitations on what was possible.”

Tim Hollingsworth, Sport England’s chief executive, said: “As the body responsible for the growth of sport and physical activity participation, we want the vital grassroots organisations that make sport and physical activity happen in this country to not just to come through this crisis but to be in a position to thrive again in the future.

“The £20m Community Emergency fund is part of a multi-million pound package of support we are providing to ease the pressure on organisations who are central to the nation’s health and wellbeing.

“We are proud to be able to provide vital funding to Ilminster Bowling & Tennis Club to help it through these extremely challenging times.”