Grassroots clubs from deprived and ethnically diverse communities face the biggest challenges in returning to organised community activity post-lockdown, research conducted by the Sport and Recreation Alliance reveals.
The findings offer one of the most comprehensive pictures so far of how the pandemic has impacted certain social groups and their ability to take part in sport and physical activity.
According to the research, participation opportunities in the most deprived areas of the country are expected to fall by 48% compared with just 2% in the least deprived areas.
With many clubs operating in these areas dependent on school facilities for the delivery of their activities, the lack of access to space behind the school gates was reported to be the main limiting factor when looking at a return to activity.
Clubs with an ethnically diverse membership projected a 69% rate of return among their participants, with this number declining even further for children and young people.
Those serving ethnically diverse, deprived or urban communities also consistently reported needing greater financial assistance to reinstate active opportunities - £5,000 more on average than those working in other areas.
Trying to safeguard their long-term future continued to be a concern for these clubs who expect to experience a 25% fall in the number of paid coaching staff once activity begins again after lockdown.
Equally, organisations with more ethnically diverse memberships reported that they expect to lose 13% of volunteer coaches and 14% of volunteers in other roles compared to the overall average figures of 2% and 8% respectively.
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