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Cost-of-living crisis

Grassroots community clubs under threat from growing cost-of-living crisis

January 23, 2023

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A report published in partnership with Sheffield Hallam University’s Sports Industry Research Centre and Sport:80 has revealed a rising financial barrier for many of the country’s community sport and recreation clubs this winter.

Community sport and recreation clubs are facing steep rises in energy bills due to the cost-of-living crisis. With the impact of Covid-19 still being felt, many of these clubs’ reserves have already been depleted. The risk is that many of these costs will be passed on to participants who cannot afford the additional financial pressures.

The research shows the following pain points:

  • Clubs and community sports are operating with low or no reserves as a result of Covid-19
  • Doubling energy bills over the next 12 months, with participation having fallen on average 16% across clubs
  • Access to facilities and public spaces is set to affect more than 75% of clubs


The economic and social value provided by community sport and recreation clubs paints a worrying picture for physical and mental health across the UK. CEO of Sport and Recreation Alliance added:

“Beyond this, grassroot community sport, recreation and physical activity plays a crucial role in supporting the health and wellbeing of the nation. Every year the sector delivers almost £10bn in health savings through the prevention of heart disease and stroke, dementia, diabetes, cancer and depression…”


This comes as the Government scales back its financial support under the Energy Bill Relief Scheme (EBRS) to eligible businesses. From the 1st of April 2023, the scheme will be capped at £5.5bn, with leisure centres and swimming pools excluded for not being as ‘energy intensive’ as historical sites and museums.

To find out more about the report, please see here.

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