Sport Northern Ireland is calling on sports clubs across Northern Ireland to spring into action and avail of a two-year funding programme totalling £1.5 million.

Active Awards For Sport, a lottery-funded small grants programme, is primarily aimed at grassroots community-based sport and seeks to promote equality as well as tackling poverty and social Exclusion.

Sports clubs, community groups and the governing bodies of sport can apply for grants ranging from £1,000 to £10,000, to cover expenses such as coaching fees, coach education, facility hire, fees for project-related courses and the purchase of equipment.

Announcing the funding boost, Chief Executive of Sport Northern Ireland, Antoinette McKeown, said: “Local clubs, community groups and our governing bodies of sport are doing fantastic work in providing opportunities for everyone to take part in sport and physical recreation and we want to support them.

“These groups give thousands of people in Northern Ireland the chance to take up sports they may never have played before, helping them to discover that sport really does offer something for everyone.

“We know that Active Awards for Sport is likely to be very oversubscribed and we may not meet the huge demand for sports funding that exists in our community but we are committed to continue boosting participation and improving sport for everyone in our communities, especially in areas of high social need.”

Applications for this first round of funding is now open and must be submitted no later than 12noon on the 21st March. Round two of funding will open in August 2014 and round three will open in March 2015.

For further information and details of funding clinics, and to apply go to www.sportni.net/Funding/Awards+for+Sport