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Popular grants return to energise sports facilities

Sport Wales’ Energy Saving Grants are back and they certainly pack a punch – just ask boxing champ Joe Calzaghe.

The family-run Calzaghe Academy in Newbridge is among the 79 sports clubs who successfully applied to Sport Wales for a £25,000 Energy Saving Grant last year to make its facilities more energy efficient.

By installing solar panels and upgrading its insulation, the Calzaghe Academy will save thousands of pounds off its energy bills for years to come, providing more financial stability to continue Joe’s legacy in his hometown.

Joe said: “We’ve trained many champions, but these days our focus is on supporting local amateurs and youngsters. Boxing was everything to me as a kid. I had a tough time at school, was bullied and was quite introverted. Coming to a gym gave me my self-worth, and that’s what we’re all about – providing somewhere for kids to have fun, get fit and feel good about themselves.

“The grant from Sport Wales will really help us reduce the cost of running the gym and give the kids a better environment to train in.”

Applications for this year’s round of Energy Saving Grants are now open, with clubs able to apply for a grant up to a maximum amount of £25,000.

As well as solar panels and insulation upgrades, other energy saving measures that clubs might consider applying for include installing energy efficient LED lighting and motion sensors, improving heating and hot water systems, as well as sustainable water sourcing.

Both the age and usage of a sports facility will determine the potential savings. The older a building is, then there’s more of a chance of energy efficiencies being made which will result in substantial savings.

Likewise, a clubhouse or pavilion that is open and consuming gas and electric every day of the week is naturally going to have more potential for energy efficiencies than a facility which is only in use a couple of times a week.

Brian Davies, the CEO of Sport Wales, said: “Clubs who are successful with their applications will not only benefit from cheaper utility bills so that they can become more financially sustainable but, just as importantly, they’ll also be doing their bit for the environment by reducing Welsh sport’s carbon footprint.

“We have £1.5m available to award via these grants, using funding allocated to Sport Wales by Welsh Government. We are confident that the return on our investment will be several times that amount in terms of the overall financial savings generated for clubs, helping them to keep the cost of sport as low as possible for participants.”

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and Social Justice, Lesley Griffiths said: “Sports clubs right across Wales have a crucial role in bringing people together, helping them stay active and serving their communities. We have already seen how important Sport Wales’ Energy Saving Grants have been in helping clubs to deal with the challenges of rising costs and I’m pleased Welsh Government funding will continue to support this initiative.”