Lewes FC's message to government over cash help for non-league clubs
Lewes FC bosses say government financial help for non-league football clubs is proving invaluable.
There were many questions raised over the rescue package for clubs at steps three to six of the non-league pyramid last month when it appeared the overall pot had been reduced from £14m to £10m.
There were also concerns over how long it took the government to confirm details of the aid. But now the process of clubs applying for grants is under way, feedback suggests the scheme is working well.
The £10m in grants was set aside by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to help non-league clubs survive a winter in which they were not able to play nor generate any income.
There are around 850 clubs across the country at steps three (Isthmian premier) to six (SCFL division) and the amounts that could be applied for depended on which level a club was playing at.
Lewes chairman Stuart Fuller said the scheme – along with the government’s job retention programme – had been beneficial.
He told us: “From Lewes FC’s point of view, the Winter Survival Fund grant and the continuation of the job retention scheme have been very well received and I’d like to thank the government for their support in this instance.
“While the application process for the WSF was thorough and detailed, our application was dealt with quickly and efficiently, which I believe is the same story for other non-league clubs in Sussex.
“Of course, we would much rather be playing games in front of fans and generating our own revenues but fully respect the measures put in place to protect our fans, volunteers, players and staff. We can’t wait to get playing again and start talking about on-the-field issues rather than off-the-field ones.”
The season for Lewes’ men’s team was halted at the end of October when a new national lockdown began. With no prospect of football in front of fans returning in the near future, the FA decided at the end of February to ‘curtail’ the season at steps three to six.
It means the Lewes men have to wait until next season for their next competitive action.
Lewes Women play in the FA Women’s Championship and as that’s classed as elite, they have played on, albeit behind closed doors. Their next game is at Blackburn on Sunday.