Sport in our communities Contents


Sport and exercise are important elements of many people’s lives and, before the pandemic, community sport and activity in England had been estimated to generate around £85.5 billion of social and economic value. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted a number of important issues facing community and grassroots sport.

Despite the Government allowing people to exercise outside for one hour a day, either alone or with their household, during lockdowns, team sport and group exercise was halted; gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools were closed down. After each successive lockdown, sport has been one of the first things to return but activity levels for 2020 fell below the figures for the previous year among adults, young people and children.

Sport groups and organisations have faced unprecedented challenges: to simply keep themselves going for such a prolonged period, during which sport could not actually be played, was an achievement in itself. Existing issues were exacerbated by new challenges such as the sudden need for social distancing, and financial models which discouraged the accumulation of reserves left clubs and organisations, right up to National Governing Body level, in a precarious financial situation. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity to reflect on what needs to be done to ensure the long-term survival and prosperity of the community and grassroots sport sector.

Published: 29 July 2021 Site information    Accessibility statement