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Helping local clubs get started and develop.

Clubs are the backbone of sport in our community and Sports Development offers support and advice to ensure all clubs, new and established, can deliver a quality experience.

Our team can provide all the information required to start a new club, develop coaching, put the necessary quality and safeguarding procedures in place and create opportunities for individuals to take part from beginner to elite level.

    How we can help your club

    See below for how we can help.

    Sports Forum

    Ards and North Down Sports Forum exists to support the development, establishment and sustainability of local sports clubs.

    It is a voluntary organisation of the Sports Development team, affiliated sports clubs and organsations and associations based or delivering sport within the Ards and North Down borough.

    The role of the forum is to:

    • act as a consultative body between council and the sporting community
    • provide grants (see below) to support local sports organisations and athletes
    • inform its members about relevant sporting news
    • contribute to sports development in the area

    Joining the Sports Forum

    To access the help and support of the forum, clubs and organisations must be affiliated members.

    Affiliation runs from 1 April to 31 March with an annual fee of £25.

    Affiliation forms are available on the Resources page, please Click Here to access.

    Sports Forum Meetings

    The Sports Forum holds quarterly meetings and monthly Working Group meetings to assess grant applications. The forum’s AGM is held in June.

    All forum members nominate a member to represent them at the meetings.

    2021 Meeting Dates

    Assessments will take place on the first Tuesday of every month


    Funding is available to clubs through the annual Sports Forum Grant and Captial Grant Scheme.

    Both grants are managed by Sports Development. Further information on grants and making an application is available from the team by emailing:

     Sports Forum Grant

    Sports Forum Grants are available annually to affiliated Sports Forum members. The various funding which are available includes the following:

    • Anniversary (Open)
    • Coaching (Open)
    • Equipment (Open)
    • Events (Open)
    • Goldcard (Open)
    • Seeding (Open)
    • Travel and Accommodation (Open)

    Please note: Sports Forum Grants are only available to Sports Forum members who have been affiliated for a minimum of three months prior to application. 

    Application Forms and Guidance Notes are available on our Resources page

    Capital Grant Scheme - Closed

    Please note:

    In recognition of the need to invest in clubs and facilities to improve the quality of provision, Ards and North Down Borough Council provides a Capital Grant Scheme.

    Grants are available for capital expenditure such as facilities or equipment, defined as “expenditure for technical assistance and/or purchase, improvement, restoration and construction of an asset directly related to the applicant organisation”.

    Grants are available to sports clubs which must:

    • operate within the Ards and North Down Borough.
    • provide sporting activities recognised by Sport Northern Ireland, through the UK Sports Council’s recognition policy and be affiliated to a recognised governing body.
    • be engaged at amateur level.
    • be currently affiliated to the Ards and North Down Sports Forum.

    Each year Ards and North Down Borough Council provides grants for the forthcoming financial year (April to March) and can award up to 50% of eligible capital costs, with a maximum award of £5000 in respect of any one project.

    Application Forms and Guidance Notes are available on our Resources page



    To recognise the success and achievements of local sporting individuals and teams, Sports Development runs annual Sports Awards. The winners are celebrated and recognised at an Awards Ceremony held in March.

    Awards are made to persons who have been involved in sport within the borough, in the following categories:

    Sports Person of the Year – Adult, under 18 and under 15
    Sports Team of the Year
    Sports Person of the Year under 18
    Junior Team of the Year – under 18s and under 15s
    Sports Coach of the Year
    Volunteer of the Year
    Lifetime Service Recognition
    Wall of Fame Inductee

    Nominations are sought from local clubs, schools, organisations and the general public in December with the winners selected by a judging panel. 

    Sports Awards 2020

    Due to the pandemic, Sports Awards will not be held in March 2021.

    Education Courses

    Sports Education Courses

    Our Sports Education programme for sports clubs, coaches and volunteers is delivered annually between the months of September and March. The programme includes courses which will help develop and enhance the skills and knowledge of personnel, enabling them to deliver their sport to the best possible standard.

    Details of our 2021-2022 Sports Education programme can be found on our Resources Page, by clicking here


    All clubs should strive to attain their governing body's accreditation, if available.

    Sports Development can help and advise sports clubs achieve Clubmark accreditation.

    Having Clubmark accreditation recognises your club as a safe, and quality environment for participants of all ages to enjoy sport and stay involved throughout their lives.



    Sports Directory

    The Sports Directory is a comprehensive online guide to the sporting activities and clubs operating in the Ards and North Down area.

    It lists over 33 different sports and 84 sports clubs and organisations from across the borough and is an excellent point of reference for anyone wishing to join a local club.

    Clubs affiliated to the Sports Forum can be included free of charge in the directory. A £10 fee applies to unaffiliated clubs and organisations.

    Fill in the Registration Form to have your club included in the guide.

    Go to the Sports Directory

    Elite Athletes

    Funding is available to elite athletes from the Ards and North Down borough, through Goldcard membership of the local leisure facilities and grants for Travel/Accommodation costs.

    Application Forms and Guidance Notes are available on our Resources page