Dozens of sport and physical activity groups across Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin have received financial support to help them survive and thrive through the Covid-19 lockdown.

Active partnership Energize is collaborating with Shropshire Council, and Telford & Wrekin Council to deliver the ‘Tackling Inequalities’ programme across the county on behalf of Sport England and the National Lottery.

The fund is available to all local activity providers working with people in at least one of four groups – those on lower incomes, with long-term health conditions, disability groups, or black, Asian, minority ethnic (BAME) groups.

So far, nearly £100,000 has been shared between 45 different organisations across the county, and a further £50,000 is hoped to be made available over the coming weeks.

Jake Jones Active Lives Officer at Energize, said: “The funding is typically designed to help out with smaller amounts, between £500 and £2,000, but we have funded larger projects where it benefits a lot of local people .

“In most instances, the money is helping organisations to get services back up and running, either by allowing them to invest in extra cleaning and sanitisation equipment, adapting equipment, or covering the cost of facilities in a Covid-safe way.

“We have a weekly panel that checks that the projects meet the criteria and then we send to Sport England for their approval. The money is typically released within a couple of weeks.

“Having a simple process has made it much easier to apply, especially for groups who may find to harder to communicate. Applicants must simply meet at least one of our four criteria and be based in either Shropshire or Telford & Wrekin.”

Among the projects which have already benefited are Telford & Wrekin Senior Citizen’s Forum, which has used the money to buy equipment and cover venue hire costs for weekly exercise sessions in Madeley, Ketley and Hadley.

The sessions have been targeted specifically at people who have been isolated or felt nervous about venturing out again since the spread of the pandemic.

In Shrewsbury, recipients include Yoga4Health which has been working with several of the homeless people who have been staying at the town’s Prince Rupert Hotel.

The money has paid for yoga mats, coaching fees, and the hire of premises in the town where socially distanced sessions can be held.

Jenna Donnelly, one of the organisers, said the project had made a real impact to people’s lives.

“During the lockdown, and as the homelessness increased in Shrewsbury due to loss of jobs and a decline in mental health, a six-week Yoga course was developed,” she said.

“The course was specifically designed to empower individuals to move their body in a safe and supported way, whilst learning new skills and approaches for times of crisis, particularly in relation to mental health.”

Elsewhere, Lower Bush Farm at Stoke St Milborough near Ludlow received financial help to create archery targets, which will be a long-term investment.

The team have been working with children and adults with a range of special educational needs, who have found themselves more isolated than ever during lockdown, and unable to be active.

A Better Tomorrow, which operates at Abraham Darby Leisure Centre and Madeley Ski Centre, has used its funds to lay on expanded football and badminton sessions and buy extra equipment.

The group uses sport as a treatment pathway for people in the 50-plus category with mental health or addiction issues.

And the Parents Opening Doors (PODs) group, which operates across Telford & Wrekin, has received support to buy sports equipment, PPE, and a gazebo to move activities outside.

The group, which works with disabled children and their families, is bringing isolated members of the community together for fun and exercise in a safe environment.

For more details about the Tackling Inequalities programme, see, where you can complete a simple online questionnaire. Alternatively, call the Energize team on 07539 414 508, or email

Energize, based at Frankwell Quay in Shrewsbury, is one of 42 Active Partnerships across the country which works in collaboration with local and national organisations.

Its mission is to ‘improve lives and empower communities through the power of physical activity and sport’.

Yoga4Health is working with homeless people in Shrewsbury

Extra football sessions for A Better Tomorrow in Telford

One of the exercise sessions run by Telford & Wrekin Senior Citizens Forum

Parents Opening Doors has bought new sports equipment