OVER 550 sports clubs and organisations across Wales have benefitted from National Lottery funding during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sport Wales’ Be Active Wales fund opened in July and has helped some clubs stay afloat while others have used the cash to adapt to Covid-19 safety guidelines.

National Lottery players have been thanked for their support who raise £30 million each week.

Since the crisis began, that funding has continued to be an essential lifeline for Welsh grassroots clubs and elite sports people alike.

During recent months, lottery funding has also continued to be vital in ensuring that the country’s top athletes are in tip-top shape.

It has remained a constant support for elite athletes, whether paying for online coaching or providing home gym equipment as athletes have needed to adapt their training schedules.

In Wales, £4.75m of National Lottery money has been invested into supporting clubs and organisations since the crisis began. But that’s just a fraction of the £1.75 billion the National Lottery has ploughed into various good causes in Wales over the past 25 years – causes that have included landmark stadia and facilities as well as the back-up support needed by Wales’ elite sports men and women.

Brian Davies, Sport Wales’ Director of Sport Systems, believes National Lottery funding has proved crucial at all levels of sport in Wales, saying: “It changes lives – both at community and elite level. That’s exactly what it was designed to do. It wasn’t designed to just make a few people millionaires. The lottery has been a significant player for all of Welsh sport.

“If it went, there would be some very difficult decisions that would need to be made. We get a set amount of money from Welsh Government which is fantastic and welcome, but the loss of National Lottery funding would leave a huge hole and force some tough decisions.”

Oswyn Hughes, Head of Campaigns, Wales, for the National Lottery, said: “National Lottery funding is playing a vital role in communities the length and breadth of Wales during this pandemic.

“What has been most pleasing from our perspective is how these projects – even though the groups are facing some really testing times – have been putting the funding to great use. They have been doing everything they can to maintain the services for the communities where they are needed.”