Coventry's first LGBTQ+ friendly rugby club forced to turn to Crowdfunding to stay afloat - The Coventry Observer

8th Aug, 2022

Coventry's first LGBTQ+ friendly rugby club forced to turn to Crowdfunding to stay afloat

COVENTRY’S first LGBTQ friendly club, Coventrians RFC, are campaigning for a new national fund to support grassroots sport and fitness clubs launched by Tokyo 2021 gold & silver medal winning triathlete Alex Yee.

After their income collapsed during the pandemic, Coventrians RFC had to turn to Crowdfunding to save their finances and future.

They were able to get back on their feet with help from a new £5m fund by Crowdfunder and Sport England aimed at helping grassroots sports clubs bounce back from the pandemic.

Club fundraiser Michael Douglas said: “Before Covid set in we were already struggling with our finances and without the coaching we got from Crowdfunder and the matched funding from Sport England, I’m not sure where we would be.

“Now the club is sustainable, we have improved our facilities and brought in new members and new revenue.

“We’re proud to be an inclusive club and look forward to what the future holds for all of us.

“I’d encourage any club who has lost income during the pandemic to try crowdfunding – Crowdfunder and Sport England will coach you through the process.

“And it’s not just about the money – working together to secure the club’s future really bonded us as a community.”

Research from Sport England reveals 97% of local sports clubs in England lost income because of lockdowns and covid restrictions, with many facing permanent closure.

They include clubs which nurtured some of the UK’s biggest sporting names, as well as clubs seeking to support their communities and provide an outlet for fitness like Coventrians RFC.

Tokyo 2021 gold & silver medal winning triathlete Alex Yee launched the new fund with his childhood club Crystal Palace Triathletes.

He said: “We need these brilliant clubs, not only do they raise Olympic champions but increase participation, activity and improve mental health.

“They play a huge role in keeping communities together and people happy, I really don’t think we’re in a position where we can afford to lose them.”

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