Sport England: Movement Fund

Priorities, Good Projects & Criteria

Version dated 13.05.2024

We want to improve physical activity for people and communities who need it most. This means that the Movement Fund will find a way to invest in good projects which support the objectives of our strategy, ‘Uniting the Movement’.

Funding priorities

We receive more applications than we can fund, so we focus on projects that align with our strategy to increase overall activity levels and decrease inactivity.

Projects that provide opportunities for groups facing barriers to activity are of particular interest, such as:

• people living on low incomes
• disabled people or those with long-term health conditions
• older people
• people from culturally diverse communities
• pregnant women and parents with very young children
• girls aged 5-16
• LGBTQ+ people
• people who are in foster care
• people who provide care without pay

We're also particularly interested in projects that address the challenges faced by individuals with combined characteristics, such as people with long-term health conditions alongside caring responsibilities – to help assess this we've developed our inequalities metric.


We also prioritise projects in communities identified as having the greatest need for activity programmes, based on our Place Needs Classification system. This combines physical activity data from our Active Lives Surveys, as well as wider social data including the index of multiple deprivation (IMD), community need and health inequalities data to help us understand the needs of an area.

What makes a good project?

Alongside a great project idea, we will prioritise projects that also: 

Encourage positive experiences in sports and physical activity - fostering a lasting commitment to an active lifestyle by emphasising enjoyable and meaningful activities. Projects that cater to users' preferences and quality of experiences. 

Involve the community in planning and delivery - ensuring inclusivity and collaboration. Projects that understand and address local needs and incorporate feedback from potential participants. 

Prioritise environmental sustainability - by aiming for net zero emissions, adapting to extreme weather, promoting climate justice, and enhancing water quality and biodiversity. Find out more about ensuring you organisation is planet-friendly here (Environmental sustainability | Buddle)

Are a good use of public money - by demonstrating a clear financial need, ensuring sustainability of benefits, and reaching new organisations that haven't previously received Sport England investment. 

Funding Criteria

Who can apply

The Movement Fund supports a variety of formally constituted not-for-profit organisation types, including:

• Sports Clubs
• Charities
• Local Authorities
• Schools
• Community Benefit Societies
•  Not-for-profit companies

To receive funding, you must have at least three non-related trustees or directors who don't live together. And you need to ensure decision making and voting rights are equally distributed between your trustees or directors.

To receive more than £10,000 of funding from us, you also need to meet Tier 1 of our governance code.

If you're unsure if you meet these requirements or want advice on how to reach them, please contact us. We're here to help.

Who can't apply

We aim to support projects that get more people active and enhance sport and physical activity participation across England. However, there are certain organisations we don't fund:

• For-Profit Organisations
• Organisation applying on behalf of another
• Organisations based outside the United Kingdom
• Individuals / Sole Traders 

What we fund

The Movement Fund supports projects that promote physical activity, including active travel, walking, cycling, dance, fitness, and sporting activities.

Here are some other things our funding could cover:

• Equipment: support purchasing new or improved equipment that’s required for the delivery of your activity.

Refurbishing or upgrading facilities: we can support you to improve or create spaces that can provide opportunities to get more people active.

Developing new capabilities and leadership skills: providing formal training for staff and volunteers to improve their skills and leadership abilities to help improve how you tackle inequalities and get more people active.

Delivery costs: paying for the people and facilities you need to deliver the project, where these are new costs to your project.

Emergency relief: helping with costs during a crisis, like damage from extreme weather, that couldn’t have been avoided or insured.

What we don't fund

We support projects that get more people active and increase sports participation across England. However, there are certain things we aren’t able to fund:

•  People living outside of England: we focus on activities within England, so costs for activities involving participants living outside England aren't eligible for funding.

•  Activities linked to statutory duties: we aren't able to cover costs for activities that are statutory responsibilities, such as funding activities that schools are already required to deliver, like PE classes.

•  Projects for private gain: we’re unable to cover projects that solely benefit an individual (i.e. covering membership fees).

•  Distribution of grants on our behalf: the Movement Fund doesn't fund organisations that will redistribute our grants to others.

•  Duplicate funding: we don't fund costs that are already covered by another source of funding. All sources of funding for your project should be declared in the application.

•  High-risk sports and activities: we won’t fund projects that are for high-risk sports and activities, unless they’re for recognised sports where the organisation/coaches are affiliated with the relevant National Governing Body. A full list of recognised sports can be found here, those marked with an asterisk are considered high risk and will require affiliation.

•  General running or existing staff costs: we’re unable to cover costs for general running of your organisation or existing staff. 

•  Recoverable VAT: we're unable to provide funding for VAT costs you can recover.

•  Retrospective funding: we can’t fund costs already incurred before the award letter date, or projects that have already started before you’ve received a funding confirmation.

• Children under five years old: projects focused solely on children under five aren’t eligible for funding. However, we can support projects where children under five are part of a larger project where the majority of beneficiaries are over the age of five.

•  Football Foundation projects: Football Foundation projects: we won’t fund football-only projects where it’s possible to receive support from the Football Foundation (e.g. equipment - goal posts or portable floodlights - or facilities). These projects should apply to the Football Foundation

•  Artistic dance activities: we don’t fund artistic dance activities where the main purpose is for artistic or performance purposes, rather than for getting people active.

•  Projects with distant start dates: we won’t fund projects which aren’t able to start within six months of the funding award confirmation, or projects which won’t be completed within 12 months of starting.

•  Movement Fund awards over £15,000 in a 12-month period: you can make multiple applications to the Movement Fund, but we won’t fund a project that would result in an organisation receiving more than £15,000 from the Movement Fund and Small Grants programme in a 12-month period.

•  Crowdfunding projects that have already closed, or are closing very soon: Crowdfunding campaigns that have already closed, or are closing within the next three weeks: ideally you would apply whilst your campaign is still in draft mode, as we need time to assess your application, make our decision and be confident your campaign page is as strong as it can be. If your application is successful, we also want our pledge to provide maximum impact and momentum, which isn't possible once it has already ran. If you need to extend your campaign, this guide shows you how.

Is your project suitable?

If you're unsure whether the Movement Fund would fund your project, you can either use our suitability checker here or get in touch with us on 03458 508 508 or email [email protected] to talk about your project.

Pledge Criteria

If your application is approved, you’ll be offered match funding of up to 50% towards your initial crowdfunding target (up to a maximum of £15,000). This offer will be valid for 12 weeks after the date of the Award Agreement that we will send to you after our decision. If you do not launch your crowdfunding campaign within those 12 weeks, your the offer will be rescinded.

Following approval for funding, if you wish to make any changes to your campaign target, or any significant changes to your rewards or other page content, you must notify us ([email protected]).

To receive a pledge on your campaign, you will initially need to do two things (the ‘pledge conditions’):
1) raise at least 25% of your initial target,
2) raise this from a minimum number of unique Supporters.
To verify whether Supporters are unique we will take account of information including, but not limited to: name, address, email addresses and payment card used.

The minimum number of unique Supporters required is:
25 Supporters if your target is up to £5,000
50 Supporters if your target is between £5,001 and £10,000
75 Supporters if your target is between £10,001 and £15,000
100 Supporters if your target is £15,001+

Once both of the above have been met, our pledge will appear on your page and in the amount you have raised. To secure our pledge, the final pledge condition is:

3) you need to reach 100% of your initial target.

If the project fails to reach 100% of your target, then our pledge will be cancelled. The Project Owner [You] will be encouraged to review what went wrong and, if appropriate, to attempt to crowdfund again.

We would encourage you to tell your crowd about these conditions, as we know it can help drive momentum. Our pledge is designed to create energy on your campaign, provide you with a boost at a critical stage and then encourage your supporters to back you and ‘get you over the finishing line’.

We reserve the right to vary these pledge criteria; you will be notified if their pledge criteria will vary from the stated terms above.

Additional Requirements

Project Owners or the campaigning organisation pledging to their own campaign is allowed, however this should not be a significant amount unless discussed with us before the pledge is added. Small offline donations that have been collected may also be added, however you may be required to evidence the origin of these pledges (receipts, letters of support, copies of cheques or bank statements etc.). All funds should be raised during your campaign duration for the purposes of your campaign and project; retrospective funds raised prior to your campaign as well as ordinary income will not be considered eligible.

You will be ineligible for funding from us if, at our sole discretion, we are not satisfied that all the Supporter pledges on your campaign are genuine pledges.

Where campaigns or pledges are identified as fraudulent, potentially fraudulent, or demonstrative of manipulating the pledging on a campaign in order to obtain match funding, this is taken very seriously. Where appropriate, the police or other relevant authorities will be informed. In addition:

• Your application for funding will be refused and any existing commitment for funding will be withdrawn.
• Your Crowdfunding campaign may be cancelled and you will be ineligible for future applications or campaigns.
• Action will be taken to recover funding which has been paid out.

Once a pledge has been offered, you must not alter your campaigns closure date or initial campaign target raise amount, without our concent.

All funded campaigns are required to agree to the Movement Fund Award Conditions.