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New research from Sported, one of the UK’s largest charities supporting grassroots and community sport, suggests that virtually all clubs and groups are fearing for the future and their ability to deliver real impacts for children in Scotland.

Sported conducted research involving 79 clubs and groups across Scotland in March, this year. It reported that 80% viewed their greatest priority as being securing enough money to survive, while among children and young people 51% said they lacked the money to participate, with ‘dreadful public transport’ picked out by one respondent as a key barrier.

“The cost of living pressures, including elevated energy, facility and insurance costs, are hitting community organisations, and threatening to freeze young people out of participation,” stated Sported, “with our research finding that over nine in ten were ‘extremely or fairly concerned’ about the impact of increased costs on their operations.”

Groups and clubs like these are often taken for granted in communities, but research shows that they are impacting lives beyond merely the physical with most are also having a significant positive impact on health and wellbeing. With detailed child and safeguarding training and measures now in place across community sport, and improved coaching that seeks to support children holistically, community clubs and groups are playing key roles in supporting the mental health of young people, keeping them away from negative influences and allowing them to fulfil their potential. Clubs such as these can be viewed as lifelines to all ages of people, but particularly across younger people in our most deprived areas.

Sported’s key findings:

  • 44 per cent of groups say they have been hit by a significant rise in energy bills over the past six months, and 43% with a reduction in financial support.
  • 77% of group leaders are concerned that cost of living increases are impacting on the mental health of the young people they work with.
  • Three in four see that the economic pressures are causing disengagement or reduced participation in sport and physical activity. And, troublingly, 74% are already witnessing young people who are not able to afford fees or subscriptions to play.
  • In the longer term, almost four in ten of those surveyed by Sported believe cost of living hits will lead to drops in young Scots being active, with 29% seeing consequences of families and kids not having enough money and facing financial hardship.

The full report is available here: