LifestyleOpinions

Families being priced out of sport at grassroots level

Grassroots sport is struggling to cope with a double whammy that could threaten community clubs across London and kick our young people into touch.

New research from charity Sported is highlighting how cost hikes are leaving kids in the capital out in the cold as price rises and other cost-of-living impacts are having a major knock-on effect on participation – and mental health.

And with grassroots organisations acting as a major source of help for our next generation in addressing areas such as well-being, crime prevention and social inclusion, the figures illustrate the need for greater support for a sector whose impact is felt on streets across the city.

From research undertaken from among Sported’s network of community groups, 96 per cent of people polled claimed they were
concerned about the impacts of the current economic pressures on their group.

Sixty-nine per cent had experienced a significant increase in fees for using a facility in a sector and 50 per cent had dealt with a significant rise in utility bills over the past six months  – while around one third of groups received no funding from local government or governing bodies.

On the other side of the coin, more than half of group leaders said they had seen a reduction in participation from young people, while 60 per cent had issues with affording activity costs and 58 per cent with affording clothing or kit.

These trusted local groups, often led by volunteers, played a critical role in transforming the lives of young people, with more than a quarter addressing crime and antisocial behaviour and more than half delivering on health and well-being.

However 58 per cent of organisations have reported that their young people have been hampered by reduced mental well-being, with 35 per cent expecting that to be the major issue over the next six months.

Sported’s Pulse survey of October 2023 showed that two-thirds of groups wanted to do more to improve young people’s health and wellbeing, but the government and other agencies must realise the value of their efforts and lend their support.

Sported’s Community Pulse is published twice-yearly with data taken from polling from almost 3,000 groups across the UK.

Mark Woods
Strategic Communications Lead, Sported

 

Picture: Pixabay/Syloo

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