Managing your club during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

We advise you to connect with your governing body for any specific guidance they are offering their member clubs.

This page includes a summary of financial support available. It also provides more in-depth advice on managing your finances and sign-posts to sources of further information and support.

Financial support

As this is a rapidly changing situation, it is important to look into the full detail of each of the options below that you think might be relevant to your organisation. You should not make changes to your budget until you have checked you that your organisation is eligible and able to obtain the support outlined.

  • Strategic Framework Business Fund: This scheme will pay small grants (£1,400 - £3,000 every 4 weeks) to organisations that are required to close or significantly change their operations due to the restrictions related to the 5 protection levels. This will include indoor sports facilities required to close in level 4 areas or indoor sports facilities that can no longer provide group exercise in level 3 areas. It will also cover sports facilities that offer catering that are impacted by the restrictions on hospitality. Eligibility criteria must be met.
    • Leisure business top-up grants: Scottish Government have announced one-off top-up grants of £6,000 or £9,000 for eligible leisure businesses including some sports clubs and community organisations. These grants are on top of the four-weekly Strategic Framework Business Fund (SFBF) grants for closed businesses. Organisations should check the full eligibility criteria before applying. In most cases business that have already applied for the SFBF will get the top-up automatically. Eligible businesses, clubs and community organisations that have not yet applied for SFBF should submit an application as soon as possible through their local authority website.
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme: Organisations can furlough employees and apply for a grant to cover a portion of their usual monthly wage costs. The Scheme has been extended until 31 March 2021.
  • Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate SchemeThis scheme will repay employers with fewer than 250 staff up to 2 weeks Statutory Sick Pay for any member of staff who had to self-isolate because of coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Self-Employment Income Support Scheme: The scheme has been extended with 2 further grants, each available for 3 month periods covering November 2020 to January 2021 and February 2021 to April 2021.
  • The Community & Third Sector Recovery Programme: Support to charities, community groups, social enterprises, and voluntary organisations that are supporting people and communities through the shift from lockdown to recovery. This includes sports clubs. The programme has 2 strands:
    • Adapt and Thrive - The programme is about organisational change and aims to help organisations plan, adapt, change and thrive post-COVID.  It offers tailored support to help develop and refine a recovery plan to operate sustainably post-COVID and some funding to enable delivery. Through this strand sports clubs could receive specialist support to navigate their way through the current pandemic
    • Communities Recovery Fund - The fund aims to support the delivery of services in communities that were suspended or reduced because of COVID, or the creation of new services that tackle new challenges presented by COVID. Through this strand sports clubs could receive financial support to start or continue to deliver vital services that their community needs. For example; sports clubs using their facility and volunteers to distribute food to local families
  • Independent Funders: SCVO have a searchable database of Coronavirus specific funds from independent funders.


Managing your finances

Cash flow

It is really important that club and community organisations maintain a clear picture of their cash flow to help them navigate Coronavirus (COVID-19). Watch the following webinar for guidance on how to:

  • Get a grip on your cash flow picture
  • Uncover ways of easing costs 
  • Make it easy for members to sign up and pay 

Implement innovative models for revenue generation 

Membership income

Organisations should be thinking about how they ensure ongoing membership income during the pandemic. You will see lots of examples of this on social media, but it is worthwhile considering applying one or both of these models, frequently used in the social enterprise sector in Scotland:

  • The ‘Robin Hood’ approach: Give members the option to continue paying any monthly subscription fees. That way, those that can continue paying subs will enable your organisation to offer reduced fees to those that can't manage to continue paying. Current examples see some organisations reducing subs to a token amount, e.g. £10 per month or pay one more full months subs before stopping payments. This approach could significantly contribute to keeping your organisation afloat. 
  • The ‘Pay it Forward’ approach: There are examples of this approach in cafes, but you could offer the chance for members to pay next season's subs of someone who needs support. The pandemic will affect everyone in different ways. Consider waiting until you know your organisation is going to reopen before offering this. 

Running costs

We recommend that the first step you take is to look at all your expected outgoings over the next few months and consider how these can be managed and reduced. There is support available to managing and reducing your running costs.

Managing other costs:

  • All outgoings: It is important to review all your organisations outgoings. Identify any areas where you can reduce or stop these payments.
  • HMRC Time to Pay service: If your organisation is in financial distress and owes tax to HMRC, they may be able to offer payment options. Your organisation should contact HMRC. 
  • If your organisation has a facility consider:
  • Non-Domestic Rates Relief: Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will not need to pay non-domestic rates in 2020-21. This should allow the vast majority of sports clubs with facilities to budget for a £0 non-domestic rates bill for 2020-21. 
  • Rental and utilities: If your club is struggling to pay rent or other utility bills, speak to your landlord and utility providers who may be able to provide payment options.

Emergency funding

Having reduced costs where possible, we understand some organisations may then need to look at options to bring in emergency funds. Available grants are detailed at the top of the page. There are also loan options that your organisation may be eligible for.

If your organisation needs an emergency loan:

  • Before taking on a loan, you should carefully consider your organisations ability to repay the loan in the future. 
  • Do you have a member that would be willing to offer an interest free loan to the club? You may know a member that has supported the club in the past and may be willing to do so again. We suggest that you only approach individuals that you already have a relationship with.
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS): Provides loans of up to £5m for businesses experiencing lost or deferred revenue due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). There are no fees or interest for the first 12 months..
  • Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS): Helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 (up to a maximum of 25% of turnover). Government guarantees the loan and there are no fees or interest for the first 12 months. After 12 months the interest rate is 2.5% a year.


Advice and Further Information

  • Scottish Governing Bodies: If your organisation is affiliated to a governing body, check their website or contact them to discuss specific guidance and advice they are offering their member clubs.
  • Scottish Government Business Support: Details of all the support Scottish Government are making available to businesses to support through COVID-19.
  • Business Gateway: Offer local support with a wide range of business matters during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. They can help with business contingency planning, digital marketing, managing cashflow, dealing with suppliers and a lot more. Plus they will be delivering virtual services in the way of webinars and online 1:1 adviser sessions.
  • Coronavirus Third Sector Information Hub: The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) has a wealth of information on their website for those running third sector organisations at this time.
  • Harper Macleod guidance for clubs: Harper Macleod have created a hub containing useful information and guidance for sports clubs in Scotland.
Date published: 30 March 2020
Date updated: 18 November 2020


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