Diamonds receive a big boost from National Lottery funding

AFC Rushden & Diamonds have received a significant financial boost after they were awarded £10,000 of National Lottery funding.

AFC Rushden & Diamonds have been awarded 10,000 from Sport Englands Community Emergency Fund
AFC Rushden & Diamonds have been awarded 10,000 from Sport Englands Community Emergency Fund

The grant has come from Sport England’s Community Emergency Fund and the news was confirmed in chairman Ralph Burditt’s latest update to the club’s fans following the premature finish to the last Southern League Premier Central campaign due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Since then, the board at Hayden Road have been working to secure the future of the club after they were also hit by the loss of main sponsors Auto Windscreens.

Sport England announced a £195m package to help the sport and physical activity sector through the pandemic, including the £20m Community Emergency Fund of National Lottery money, to deliver immediate funding to cover short-term financial hardship due to the impact of coronavirus.

In making the award, Sport England’s chief executive Tim Hollingsworth said: “As the body responsible for the growth of sport and physical activity participation, we want the vital grassroots organisations that make sport and physical activity happen in this country to not just to come through this crisis but to be in a position to thrive again in the future.

“The £20m Community Emergency fund, made possible by National Lottery players, is part of a multimillion pound package of support we are providing to ease the pressure on a huge number of the organisations who are central to the nation’s health and wellbeing.”

Burditt, in his latest update, said: “On behalf of everyone at AFC Rushden and Diamonds, we would like to thank Sport England for their excellent support.

“Thanks also to one of our members, Matthew Taylor, who assisted us with this successful application.”

The Diamonds chairman also confirmed the club had not been able to access any of the £25,000 Small Business Grant which was announced by the government in March and paid to eligible business rate payers by East Northamptonshire Council (ENC) in April.

However, Diamonds have also received a helping hand from landlords Rushden & Higham United who have told their tenants that they intend to offer them a reduced rent at Hayden Road if the next season does not start at the usual time.

Burditt added: “We agreed to re-visit the details of this kind gesture when there is more certainty with regards to when we will start playing matches again.

“We also continue to work with Rushden & Higham on plans for preparing Hayden Road for the resumption of football, including getting the pitch prepared.

“In the coming weeks, and when it is safe to do so, we will be asking for our volunteers to come along and help with the normal pre-season maintenance."