Leaders in sport and physical activity sector unite to back #SaveOurSports campaign
Posted: Tue, 27 Oct 2020 10:30
The UK's sport and physical activity sector has joined forces to launch a new campaign called Save Our Sports, urging the Government to save grassroots sport, fitness and leisure facilities from permanent closure due to COVID-19.
LRS support the call for a Sports Recovery Fund petition, run by UK Active and Sport + Recreation Alliance, so our sector can help keep people fit and healthy which is a vital part of overcoming this pandemic. Leicester-Shire & Rutland Sport (LRS).
Since the call to government in September to instigate emergency support for local sports clubs, fitness and leisure facilities, there has so far been total inaction from the Government on this issue and neither the Prime Minister, nor any of his Cabinet, have as yet responded to this letter.
The sport and physical activity sector request replicates that already provided to the culture and arts sector, which faces many of the same challenges, and is already benefiting from a sizeable rescue fund of £1.57bn as well as a VAT reduction to 5%, whilst at the same time being permitted to stage socially distanced performing arts events with audiences at both indoor and outdoor venues.
The Savanta ComRes COVID-19 tracker shows that the public now feel that places of leisure are the part of our economy least supported by government, below that of the self-employed, small businesses and the NHS.
Using the campaign hashtag #SaveOurSports, the group requests a support package which:
- Creates a Sports Recovery Fund to ensure that COVID-19 doesn't lead to a lost generation of sport and activity
- Extends the VAT reduction that has been applied to the culture and hospitality sectors to the sport and physical activity sector
- Maximise access, in a safe way, to sport and physical activity during any local lockdowns or additional national restrictions
Last month, data reported by ukactive from more than 1,500 community sport and leisure facilities, accounting for more than 22 million public visits, showed just 78 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among customers in England (a rate of 0.34 cases per 100,000 visits).
Research from Sheffield Hallam and Sport England shows that sports clubs and public leisure facilities contribute more than £72bn of social value annually across England and play a critical role in supporting rehabilitation from many conditions such as cancer, heart disease, mental health issues and COVID-19.
The Sports Recovery Fund would help prevent the closure of facilities which form the bedrock of communities across the country which have a disproportionately greater impact on people from lower income backgrounds, BAME, and disability groups. Without financial support, nearly half of public leisure facilities face risk of permanent closure by Christmas.