Call for More Help for Grassroots Sports
It is not just the regulated childcare sector that is facing trouble with the prevailing economic conditions. According to research by Sported, a community network of over 3000 sports clubs, the cost of living crisis is likely to have a severe impact on children’s participation in sport this year. Even where sessions are free, the organisation believes that economic considerations will put tens of thousands of children at risk of missing out on activities. Already, 72% of groups surveyed said they had been forced into making changes, including reducing sessions and increasing fees, to offset the cost of living crisis.
With the aftershocks of the Covid-19 crisis still being felt and a desperate need for children to develop active habits, the research sounds a severe warning for a sector that had initially bounced back strongly once re-opening was permitted. With families struggling to provide kit, or even justify the expense of transport to and from a venue, it is understandable that some businesses are struggling. Inflationary pressures and lower attendance are reportedly leading to costs increasing by 50% for 75% of surveyed providers, and over half believe they will need thousands of pounds worth of support to stay afloat.
There is no doubt that these are challenging times for the Children’s Activities community. Although every setting is different, the difficulties are being shared. Recognising the need for the sector to come together, the Children’s Activities Association has launched its new Children's Activities Community Facebook group, as a place where providers can come together in a space for sharing experiences, problem-solving and celebrating the wonderful sector they work in. The group is open to all Children’s Activity businesses, whether or not they are CAA members and promises to be a hugely valuable resource for the times ahead.