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Nine further Covid-related deaths as 900 sporting clubs across Northern Ireland receive grants

Football pitch

There were nine further Covid-related deaths reported by the Department of Health today (Tuesday).

Today’s stats – according to the official dashboard – take in the last 24 hours with all nine passing away inside that period.

The overall total number of deaths recorded by the Department now stands at 2,009.

Of those deaths, the ABC Borough accounts for 265 Newry, Mourne and Down District 154; and Mid-Ulster with 184.

There were a further 341 positive cases reported in the last 24 hours, with 71 in  Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon – the second highest in NI. There was a further 13 in Newry, Mourne and Down and 51 in Mid-Ulster.

A total of 1,838 individuals were tested.

There are 474 people now in hospital as a result of the virus, 55 of whom are in intensive care units.

There are currently 44 ICU beds available in Northern Ireland.

A total of 161 Covid patients are currently in hospitals in the Southern Trust area with 91 in Craigavon; 30 in Daisy Hill; 33 in Lurgan; none in South Tyrone; and seven in St Luke’s.

The latest figures comes as Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey announced that the Sports Hardship Fund, which was designed to help clubs and organisations maintain the facilities they own or lease during the Covid restrictions, has issued awards to over 900 clubs totalling £2million.

The Sports Hardship Fund was open to sports clubs and sporting organisations from the voluntary and community sector, which were unable to receive support from other Government Covid-19 Mitigation Funds.

Applicants to the fund, which is administered by SportNI, receive grants of up to £2,000 with a further ‘top-up’ of £1,000 to help cover immediate financial commitments.

The Minister said: “This Fund has been very successful in helping grassroots sports clubs and organisations meet essential maintenance costs for facilities during the lockdown periods and when other restrictions have been necessary, it has also helped those that are experiencing hardship due to the increased costs of ‘block booking’ facilities they hire.

“The funding awards have provided crucial cash flow while the clubs have had limited or no activities. The awards recognise the important role that sport has to play in helping communities to get through this crisis and to help society come out of the lockdown period. The grants will help sustain clubs and put them in a good position to offer communities and individuals access to sport and physical activities as soon as it is safe to do so.”

The Sports Hardship Fund is complemented by the Covid Safe PPE Sports Packs Project which aims to assist Sports clubs with the provision of a Covid safe environment when the time is right for activities to recommence. To date over £800K in Sport Packs have issued to clubs.

The Minister also confirmed that the assessment of applications from the sport sector to the £25M Sports Sustainability Fund is on track.

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