By Rebecca Black, PA
A hardship fund has been launched for the sports sector as the coronavirus lockdown continues.
It is open to sports clubs and sporting organisations from the voluntary and community sector, which are unable to receive support from other government Covid-19 mitigation funds.
Those groups will be able to apply to Sport NI for a small grant of £2,000 to help with immediate financial commitments to maintain their facilities.
Half a million pounds has been allocated up to June 30 with successful applications set to receive a flat rate grant of £2,000 each.
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said she recognises sporting organisations at every level are facing "serious financial challenges" due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions.
"I want to ensure that, over the next three months, that there is help available to cover costs such as rent, essential utility bills and to assist with the cost of basic maintenance of outdoor sports facilities," she said.
"Sport will have a crucial role to play in helping communities to get through this crisis and to help society come out of the lockdown period.
"It is therefore essential that sporting organisations and clubs are in a position to offer communities and individuals access to sport and physical activities as soon as it is safe to do so."