Scottish Rugby has launched a significant new funding support initiative to help clubs during the COVID-19 crisis

A new £500,000 Club Hardship Fund (CHF) will offer financial assistance to grassroots clubs facing cashflow and immediate financial challenges through the impact of Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Designed to help clubs through the period of uncertainty created by the Coronavirus outbreak, the CHF would release funds to support identified financial issues caused by a lack of fixtures or pressures on other revenue streams.

With a lack of fixtures and reduction on public gatherings clubs may struggle for cash-flow and Scottish Rugby wishes to help and support them.

In addition to the £500K Club Hardship Fund, Scottish Rugby is also accelerating its collective club support payments by a month, to April from May, which will in itself exceed £500,000 in funding to ease the financial burden.

Scottish Rugby will also be talking to all its key partners and stakeholders to generate wider support for the CHF and to offer further practical support to local clubs across Scotland.

Scottish Rugby Chief Executive, Mark Dodson said: “These are unprecedented times and we are acutely aware of the significant day to day financial challenges our member clubs will face in the coming weeks if fixtures cannot be resumed in the mid to long term and other planned fund-raising initiatives are curtailed.

“We are creating the £500K Club Hardship Fund to provide clubs with the reassurance there is financial assistance available to the dedicated volunteers and staff who deliver our game in their local communities.

“It is important we act now and provide tangible, practical support during these unsettling times.

“I also want to offer, on behalf of everyone at Scottish Rugby, our very best wishes to everyone across the country at this extremely difficult time.”

Clubs will be invited to apply to the CHF by completing and returning a CHF claim application, which will be posted on the Sottish Rugby website later this week and contain details of the necessary criteria.

Scottish Rugby say they will look to release funds in a timely manner as appropriate.

The full criteria for CHF applications will be shared with all rugby clubs in Scotland through Scottish Rugby’s own ‘Club Comms’ channels in the coming week.

On Friday 13 March Scottish Rugby announced that with effect from Sunday 15 March at 6pm there will be a short period without domestic competition (or training), while a further assessment is made up to, and including, Sunday 29 March 2020.

This was decided in light of government restrictions on public gatherings and the resulting pressure on emergency services and healthcare provision in relation to the ongoing Coronavirus (Covid-19) situation.

Work will also go into helping clubs apply for wider business support after Scottish Government announced a £320m fund for businesses affected.

This content was originally published here.