An East Sussex  council is being urged to investigate additional support to ensure the viability of all sports clubs and leisure facilities across the Lewes district, recognising the extreme pressure faced by organisations in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

That’s the call from the Conservative group on Lewes District Council which has asked for a review of council–led assistance which can be given to sporting clubs and leisure providers as they prepare to reopen following lockdown.

The plea from the largest group on the local authority came as the ruling anti-Conservative coalition proposed assisting Lewes Town Football Club by granting a new 25-year lease on the Dripping Pan ground.

Whilst acknowledging the vital role the club plays in the community, and supporting the new lease, Conservative councillors feel that a helping hand should also be extended to other leisure providers in the area in these difficult times. The proposal was made at a meeting of the Policy, Performance and Advisory Committee.

“We are Lewes District Council, after all”, said Cllr Liz Boorman (Conservative, Seaford West) who’s the shadow cabinet member for communities and partners. “And we have a duty to protect and promote sport and leisure as much as we can, across the entire district, especially at this difficult time for the sector.”

Among the businesses struggling are the council’s own contractor, Wave Leisure, which runs sports centres in Lewes, Newhaven, Seaford and Peacehaven as well as outreach services to more remote areas. The latest finance report shows a potential provision of £500,000 to ensure Wave can continue to meet its obligations in respect of leisure provision.

“Wave’s operation is crucial to the leisure provision for many residents, but so are the operations of a myriad other sports clubs and operators across the district, and it is vital that they receive the necessary support at this time as well”, added Cllr Boorman.

It is now up to the council’s Cabinet, meeting on 11th June, to approve the proposed review of support across the district.