RISING popularity in angling in this area is now being confirmed by fishing licence sales figures that have just been released.

The new buzz around fishing looks set to continue, with latest rod licence sales for Cheshire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester having gone beyond 80,000 people since April and over one million nationally, generating over £1.5m of additional income.

And there is a benefit that can now be tapped into by England's schools, charities, local authorities along with angling clubs, coaches and fisheries.

As a result of additional income from licence sales, the Environment Agency is offering increased investment to support projects that will run safe angling participation events throughout 2021.

This includes, in association with the Angling Trust, a new £100k ‘Get Fishing Fund’ to encourage even more people to give fishing a go for the first time, or to get back into angling after a break from the sport.

Grants of up to £500 to benefit small-scale projects and up to £5,000 for larger projects will be available.

The funding will help the delivery of future angling participation events, including any additional equipment needed to ensure fisheries are following Covid-19 safety guidelines, PPE and signage.

It can also cover the costs of fishing equipment, terminal tackle and bait, as well as event resources including promotional material, gazebos and basic storage facilities.

The easing of lockdown restrictions in May 2020 led to a huge increase in popularity for angling as people sought the wellbeing benefits the sport can offer.

Graeme Storey, fisheries manager for the Environment Agency, said: “The Get Fishing Fund will support organisations to put on a range of fishing activities to encourage new anglers through the 2021 season.

"We are always looking for ways to support our angling community and the Environment Agency has invested £1.5m of the additional income from this year’s licence sales back into projects that improve fisheries.

“The increased interest in fishing over the summer proves that people are not only rediscovering angling but more people are trying angling for the first time. We want to see this continue and hope that these new projects will encourage more people to give fishing a go.”

Clive Copeland, head of participation at the Angling Trust, added: “We work with a great network of coaches, clubs and fisheries across the country which this fund will help but this is also a fantastic opportunity for new partners to get involved in angling participation too.

“We’ve worked with the Environment Agency to make this a short, easy process and we’ve got friendly staff with lots of experience ready to help anyone who needs it.”

The Get Fishing Fund is available to angling clubs, coaches and fisheries but also to non-angling organisations such as schools, local authorities or charities based in England.

The fund is now open and the closing date for bids is Friday, March 12, 2021.

Funding is limited so applicants are encouraged to apply soon.

Grant applications can be made on the Angling Trust website or search “Get Fishing Fund” for more details:

For more information on coaching and courses visit https://anglingtrust.net/get-involved/coaching/. In some circumstances, the Environment Agency may be able to provide bursaries for training new coaches

Since 2015 fishing licence income has helped fund more than 500 angling projects worth an estimated £5.6m, creating, or safeguarding tens of thousands of angling opportunities in England.

Get Fishing is the Angling Trust’s campaign to grow participation in angling. Last year over 37,000 people had the opportunity to fish at hundreds of fun, safe and friendly events funded by the Environment Agency from fishing licence income.

Anyone who wants to fish inland waters of any kind must by law buy an Environment Agency rod licence, on top of any local permit or day ticket that is required by rights owners.