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Tibenham gliding club given lifeline with Sport England grant

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A volunteer-run gliding club has been given a £9,400 lifeline by Sport England to help it through the Covid-19 crisis.

Norfolk Gliding Club, which has around 150 members and owns 60 acres of land at Tibenham Airfield, has been hit hard by the lockdown.

The club owns a fleet of seven gliders, which, along with the three runways, still have to be maintained – even if they are not being used.

The hanger at the Norfolk Gliding Club (34592196)
The hanger at the Norfolk Gliding Club (34592196)

Club treasurer Linda Smith said: “Summer is by far our busiest time of year and we have not been able to access government grants, so closure over this period is having a particularly detrimental affect on our finances.

“The grant from Sport England has been vital for us.”

A week after the instruction to shut down general aviation, Sport England announced a multi-million pound package to help support sports and physical activity organisations with immediate cash problems.

The lockdown has left many sports facing an uncertain future, but Sport England announcing a £195 million support package through its Community Emergency Fund.

Tim Hollingsworth, Sport England’s chief executive, said: “We want the vital grassroots organisations who make it happen in this country not just to come through this crisis, but to be in a position to thrive again in the future.

“The multi-million pound package of support should ease the pressure on a huge number of organisations which are central to the nation’s health and wellbeing. We are proud to be able to provide vital funding to Norfolk Gliding Club in these extremely challenging times.”

With people from the same households being able to participate in sports such as tennis and golf as of this week, the gliding club’s chairman, Mike Hoy, hopes other sports will soon come back, too.

He said: “We look forward to seeing the restrictions ease over the coming months.

“A return to flying would mean we could welcome back our members and introduce aspiring new pilots to the sport of gliding.”

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