Council waives hire charges for football and rugby clubs using playing fields and sports pavilions for entire 2019-20 season

Football and rugby clubs in Bridgend county borough will not have to pay the hire charges for using outdoor sports facilities for the entire 2019-20 season after the local authority waived the fees.

Bridgend County Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Cllr Richard Young said the decision had been made to take account of both the exceptional circumstances around the Covid-19 crisis and the continued commitment of sports clubs and town and community councils to complete community asset transfers of outdoor facilities.

He said: “It was decided some time ago not to levy charges for changing facilities and pitches managed by the parks department post lockdown, from March to May, but as a gesture of goodwill we have now taken the decision to waiver fees for the period November 2019 to February 2020.

“We know some clubs are struggling financially because of the pandemic with income streams having been reduced and we want do to do what we can to support them.

“The Community Asset Transfer (CAT) of playing fields and sports pavilions remains a key priority of the council due to the pressures on its current and future budgets which have been further affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

“All facilities available for CAT transfer are subject to ongoing discussions with sports clubs, and town and community councils so that they can be subject to self-management at a local level in the near future.

“It must be noted that due to the financial pressures currently facing the council we will be unable to provide similar support in the future and sports clubs will be required to pay hire charges to reflect usage of facilities.”

In April, the local authority announced a package of additional support to assist clubs progress transfers. It included pitch, green and wicket surveys and specific funding for building, pitch/drainage improvements and capital grants to enable clubs to purchase maintenance equipment for green spaces. This is in addition to the reconfiguration of the council’s £75,000 Bridgend Sports Support Fund – part of the CAT process – to provide immediate financial aid to local sports clubs during the coronavirus outbreak.

Clubs which applied for grants of up to £1,000 to help with day-to-day operating costs during the coronavirus pandemic will be notified in early June on the outcome of their applications.