More funding for cash-strapped community sport; NZFF promises more to come

Photo: © Copyright Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz Photosport Ltd 2019

More good news for the COVID-impacted community sports landscape – the New Zealand Football Foundation has approved two major funding projects, as well as announcing a second round of grants, to be launched in September.

A registered charitable trust created by New Zealand Football in 2010 (using $4m of the funds generated from the ALL WHITES qualification for the FIFA World Cup) the NZFF has over the past decade funded a range of projects – from supporting the Football Ferns build-up to the Rio Olympics, to transporting disadvantaged youth to Phoenix games.

The most recent funding round, which started in March and, despite the Lock Down attracted 12 applications, has seen two projects win grants: a cross-code initiative between football, athletics, netball and basketball for 4-12 year-old boys and girls in Hamilton and Tauranga, and a Football For All programme in South Auckland primary schools.

The cross-code and FFA programmes received $15,000 and $10,128, respectively, and expect to start implementation in Term 3 (July 20) and carry through to Term 4.

Chief executive Dr Michele Cox said both projects fitted extremely well within the NZFF’s strategic framework as well as meeting the fundamental themes of increasing access to, and alleviating hardship in, the game.

“We all know this is a really tough time for community sport and we want to throw our support behind initiatives that address the increasing challenges being faced by families and kids,” said Dr Cox.

“At the heart of all sport is the community and our focus right now is on just that: engaging and empowering youth, girls and women, and making a social impact through football – which we think these two projects will do.”

Dr Cox was also delighted to announce a $10,000 grant to support the NZF Small Whites 2020 programme, made possible by a donation from former NZ Football Board member Andy Smith, and continued support (through a combined fund with the NZ Players Association) for young elite All Whites and Football Ferns, such as Anna Leat.

And just to top off an encouraging day, the NZFF has announced a commitment to a second round of funding grants in September.

The NZFF’s honorary patron Sir Eion Edgar said there could hardly be a more important time to make sport as accessible as possible within the community, given the widespread effects of the lock down and its impact on families and young New Zealanders.

“I’m very happy to see this support being extended to the grassroots of sport,” said Sir Eion.

“These are trying times and it’s good to see the increasing levels of funding the NZFF is providing to the football community.”

The NZFF has capital invested of approximately $5.2m, the interest from which underpins the grants. Over the past 10 years it has distributed more than $1.4m in grants.