Football clubs across North Devon will be able to benefit from a new £2million fund to help them safely reopen from the coronavirus lockdown.

The Football Foundation has launched the new Club Preparation Fund, offering grants of £500 to grassroots clubs and organisations across the country.

The fund is for clubs to satisfy extra hygeine measures that Government guidance requires, such as hand sanitiser dispensers; safety screening, contactless payment systems and signage; facility maintenance work such as repairing hot water provision, and professional inspections that may be needed.

Sports Minister, Nigel Huddleston, said: “We know grassroots football clubs can’t wait to get back to the competitive game and we’re working hard to make sure they can do so safely as soon as public health guidance allows.

“This extra funding will help clubs to prepare and make sure they can put all-important safety measures in place to protect their players and staff for when they get back on the pitch.”

Grassroots football clubs and organisations and FA National League System clubs that own their own facility or have at least 12 months’ security of tenure, are all eligible to apply for funding before July 19.

The Club Preparation Fund follows the £7million Pitch Preparation Fund, which is benefiting 9,588 pitches and is a continuation of football and Government’s support for clubs that have lost out on normal revenue streams during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Robert Sullivan, interim chief executive of the Football Foundation, said: “We had a great response to the recent Pitch Preparation Fund, with clubs welcoming our emergency support to get nearly 10,000 playing surfaces across the country match-fit.

“The Club Preparation Fund is a continuation of the support to assist the return of football by helping clubs prepare their buildings for the Covid-19 environment.

“Any organisations that need help should apply via before the deadline of July 19.”

Mark Bullingham, The FA’s chief executive officer, added: “We are committed to getting all levels of football playing as soon as the Government decides that it is safe to do so.

“This fund will be critical to helping clubs prepare facilities and carry out essential maintenance work. We want them to be ready to welcome players back, which hopefully will be very soon.”