WNST awards first new grants post-pandemic

The two years of the covid-19 pandemic have severely curtailed the Trust’s income and our capacity to make new grants awards – although, of course, we honoured all the commitments made previously.

However, with the relaxation of covid restrictions and the re-introduction of paying spectators to the Stadium, revenues to the Trust have started to flow again, meaning we have been able to make some new grants in LB Brent, albeit initially on a limited scale whilst we rebuild our coffers.

Our capacity was principally limited to the award of smaller, “community” awards of £2,500 and we were particularly keen to ensure that these funds went where they would have the greatest impact. The trustees therefore decided that the focus of this first distribution had to be to support smaller local groups based in Brent, which were helping those communities most affected over the past two years.

We know that many local groups have been extremely resourceful during the pandemic, evolving their services to help meet immediate needs and finding different ways of keeping in touch with their members, ensuring they stayed physically fit and mentally strong.  However, the emphasis is now on getting back to “normal”.  Yet, many families continue to struggle and we know that the social and personal support they receive from their local community organisations is key.

We awarded 19 grants, each of £2,500, to groups working in the heart of their local neighbourhoods, helping to rebuild residents’ physical and mental well-being.  A list of the community awards made can be found here.

We also awarded two larger, strategic, awards to support significant local football initiatives, both of which will benefit a large number of organisations and individuals:

  • £25,000 to Middlesex FA to support their programme of women’s and girls’ community football activities connected to England’s hosting of the 2022 Women’s Euros tournament.
  • £20,000 to the Wembley Football League, towards the costs of running the second year of Brent’s own youth football competition.

As ever, we look forward to hearing about the successes and challenges for all of our funded groups.  We always aim to keep in touch and to share learning and knowledge.

Salvatore Petrone, treasurer of Queen’s Park Sharks Youth FC told us “The pandemic was very hard for our young people.  They learn so much from getting together to play football, lessons they just don’t do at school.  Being able to re-start activities at the club up has been met with such great enthusiasm. But of course, our funds are very limited, although we survived the pandemic by cutting expenditure to a bare minimum.  Receiving the award from WNST to help meet our pitch hire and coaching costs is such a great help and benefits the young people directly.  We know that families are struggling to meet everyday costs, so we cannot ask them to contribute more than we already do and we will always help those who cannot afford to play.  Thank you WNST.”

Stewart Goshawk, CEO of WNST said “It was important that we got our grant-making going again, as soon as it was practical to do so.  We needed to get the money out into the community, making an impact as quickly as we could, whilst being careful to ensure that we don’t overreach our capacity.  The pandemic has taught us very clearly both the importance of our funding but also the need to ensure we protect the future of the Trust.  These latest grants are intended to get right into the heart of Brent communities most affected by the past two years of lockdowns and isolation.  We know that one of the greatest benefits of community sport is the social well-being that it brings and we all need plenty of that right now!”