Fears that 25% of grassroots sports clubs may not return after lockdown
Grassroots sports will struggle to return once lockdown measures are eased, MPs have been warned, with one organisation estimating 25% of their clubs will not come back from the Covid-19 pandemic.
A lack of resources and facilities is likely to have been compounded by the effects of lockdown, sporting leaders told a session of the digital, culture, media and sport select committee, with fears that both volunteers and the young people who organisations are desperate to reach will have left sport for good.
Activity levels among young people dropped by 2.3% in the summer of 2020 compared to the previous year, according to Sport England, with 2.3 million children in England failing to complete an average 30 minutes of activity a day. A “nervous” situation will be further compounded by inequality.
According to Nicola Walker, the chief executive of Sported, the UK’s largest network of community sporting clubs with 2,600 members.
“We think about a quarter of groups may not restart, that the sheer effort of getting back up and getting everything sorted out again may be too much for them,” Walker told the committee.
“Around a third of our members didn’t reopen between lockdown one and lockdown two even in areas where they were allowed to.”
“I think if anything it’s going to be more difficult because groups have now had a very long sustained period of time without income. Children have got out of the habit of playing in their sports; 85% of the grassroots sports that we support don’t have their own facilities.”
Grassroots/amateur clubs up and down the country has taken a massive hit over the past year due to the pandemic. This hit has caused clubs to close down preventing all aged, gender, ethnicity people stop playing the sport they love.
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