Operating grant for sports

An operating grant is a general grant for sports clubs. The operating grant is awarded on a discretionary basis based on calculated criteria.

Application period: see section application.

Applicants must comply with the application guide for grants for sports and the general grant allocation guidelines of the City of Helsinki when applying for, using and reporting on grants.

Operating grants may be awarded upon application to sports clubs which meet the following criteria: 

  1. The applicant's declared residence is in Helsinki, and the activities are open to all residents. The subject activities must be primarily targeted at Helsinki residents. 
  2. The applicant must be an association registered at the Patent and Register Office. The club activities must be established and it must have been in operation for one whole calendar year before submitting the grant. This does not apply to clubs that have changed their name, have had a section register as an independent association, or if the applicant is a partial or total merger of two or more clubs that have received grants in the past.
  3. The applicant’s primary activities, according to its rules, are physical activities and the sport it represents is a part of the Finnish Olympic Committee and/or belongs to the list of national sports associations that receive government contributions from the Ministry of Education and Health. Over 50% of the club’s regular exercise activities must be in sports that meet the above-mentioned criteria.
  4. The sports club arranges regular, guided physical activities for a fixed group of its members at least 10 times during a 3-month period, considering the nature of the sport.
  5. At least 50 of the club’s active members, or alternatively 20 active members under the age of 20, whose residence is in Helsinki, must participate in the club’s directed exercise activities.

The applicant must comply with the principles of good governance, the ethical principles for sports communities and  principles of the UN convention on the rights of the child in all its operations.

The operating grant is a discretionary grant based on calculated allocation criteria. The final operating grant to be awarded is determined based on the applicant's calculated grant in proportion to the share of other applicants applying for the operating grant from the total appropriations available. 

The operating grant is calculated based on the following criteria: 

  1. The calculation weighs activities for children and young people at 80% and activities for adults at 20%. In the 2024 round for grants, children and young people are persons born in 2004 or later.  In the application, active members are considered to be those that participate in regular, directed exercise activities intended for a fixed group at least 10 times during a contiguous 3-month period. The regular activities must be the club’s own non-profit activities and do not include sports activities that are purchased from the city or implemented in cooperation with the city.  A person may be reported as an active club member only once, even if the same person participates in multiple exercise groups over the course of the year.  

  2. The number of instructors and coaches who have completed at least the first level of the national coaching and instruction training (VOK 1). In addition to the regional sports associations’ VOK 1 training courses, the calculation considers the number of instructors and coaches that have completed a sports federation course that is at least similar in level and content, or who have completed a vocational qualification in sports instruction (vocational college), a degree in sports instruction (UAS) or a master’s degree in sports science (sports pedagogy or sports biology).

A braking share is applied to the grant calculation, which prevents an activity grant from being reduced by more than 20% when compared to an activity grant that was granted in 2023. If the change in active members or instructors and coaches is due to a structural change in the club, such as section(s) of the club separating from the club, the braking share does not apply. 

A grant may be awarded to eligible applicants who have applied for the grant by the given deadline. The amount of the grant cannot exceed the amount applied for. If an entity receives a grant for its sports activities from other branches of the city administration, Sports Services will not provide another grant for the same activities.

Grants are meant to support common-goods activities organised by the association itself and not, for example, activities acquired by the city from the association as a purchased service or activities that are otherwise supported (e.g. by means of cooperation agreements).

The grant cannot exceed 80 procent of the eligible expenditure. ‘Eligible expenditure’ refers to costs incurred for the common-goods sports activities of the association. Loan repayments, interest and write-offs, depreciation, provisions or any other calculated items that are not based on actual costs are not taken into account as expenditure incurred for the activities.

The smallest operating grant to be awarded is EUR 200.

The application for operating grant opens at the beginning of the year and ends on February 15.

Grants must be applied for within the application period specified. If an application is not submitted by the deadline, it will be regarded as late and rejected.

The grant is primarily applied for through the operating and facility usage grant application form. The same application is to be used to apply for a sports facility usage grant.

Click here(Link leads to external service) for instructions on how to use the e-services to apply for a grant and how to log in.

In exceptional cases, the grant application may be submitted to the City Register Office at City of Helsinki Register Office, Culture and Leisure Division/Sports, PO Box 10, FI-00099 City of Helsinki, Finland (street address: City Hall, Pohjoisesplanadi 11–13). Applications submitted to the City Register Office must arrive by 15.00 on the last day of the application period.

The application must be accompanied with the mandatory attachments specified for each grant, a list of which is available below.

For the application to be processed, applicants must attach the mandatory documents to the application form. The mandatory attachments to an operating grant application are:

  • Action plan for the application year
  • Budget for the application year
  • Financial statements (most recently confirmed, the previous year or the year before)
  • Audit report (most recently confirmed, the previous year or the year before)
  • Annual report (most recently confirmed, the previous year or the year before)

If the applicant has not previously applied for any grants from the City of Helsinki or if any of the relevant information has changed, the following documents must also be attached to the application:

  • Rules of the association
  • A notice from the bank on the account holder or a copy of a bank statement (the applicant must have its own Finnish bank account into which the grant will be paid)
  • An extract from the Register of Associations

Decisions on operating grants are made by the Sports Sub-committee. Decisions are expected to be made in April. The grant decisions, including the instructions for appeal, will be sent for information to all applicants.

See previous decisions of the Sports Sub-committee on the page of the Sports Sub-committee(Link leads to external service).

The grant will be paid in accordance with the grant decision in one instalment into a bank account specified by the recipient. If the recipient does not have a bank account, they must open one. The City of Helsinki will only pay a grant into a bank account in the name of the recipient.

A prerequisite for the granting and payment of the grant is that there have been no discrepancies regarding any grants awarded by the city to the recipient in previous years. The city has the right to suspend the payment of a grant until the matter has been resolved if there is reason to suspect that the prerequisites for the recovery of a grant specified in Section 10 of the general grant criteria of the City of Helsinki are met.

The city has the right to set off the grant in whole or in part against a recoverable claim from the recipient.

A grant awarded to a sports club may be used to cover expenses arising from the club’s own activities. A grant for an activity group for a pensioners or a special association is a targeted grant that must be used to cover the association’s expenses resulting from its sports activities.

The grant must be used for the association’s non-profit activities. The grant must be used during the year in which it was awarded, unless otherwise specified in the decision.

The grant cannot be used for fundraising or for business and investment expenditures, or to increase the association’s financial assets or any other long-term investments. The grant cannot be forwarded to other associations or distributed as individual grants to members. The funds must be used for the operations of the association in general.

The recipient must notify the City of Helsinki without delay of any significant change affecting the use of the grant.

The use of the operating grant will be reported in connection with the application for the following year’s operating grant. The application form includes a separate section for this, and the mandatory attachments submitted with the application form are a part of reporting the last year's grant as well.

If the applicant has received an operating grant in previous year but is not applying for a grant in current year, the applicant must submit a separate report on the use of the previous year grant to liikunta.avustukset@hel.fi (Link opens default mail program).  The report must be submitted by the end of September following the grant year. The report must indicate the use and allocation of the grant. Furthermore, approved financial statements, an annual report and an audit report for previous year must be attached to the email.

Instructions on completing the application form 2024(Link leads to external service) (pdf, in Finnish)

Read more about the other documents governing the award, use and reporting of grants for sports on the Guidance and support page.(Link leads to external service)

The contact details of personnel providing personalised guidance on sports grants are available on the Contact details page(Link leads to external service).

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