Earlier this year, Sport England released their findings on the impact the COVID pandemic has had on people’s participation in sport and physical activity. It is inevitable that with the closure of community venues, leisure centres, gyms and more recently schools, the opportunities to maintain or indeed become physically active have reduced.
Indeed, many people have sort out alternative activities to what they would normally participate in to keep active and healthy, with children and young people in particular reporting a bigger uptake in 2020 in walking, cycling and dancing – activities which can take place outdoors, alone or in small groups or virtually, online. By contrast, the number of children and young people participating in activities such as swimming and team sports, was down by over 1 million people in the first week of January 2021, compared to the same period in 2020.
Whilst Sport England identifies a range of reasons for the downturn in participation rates, such as anxiety, withdrawal and loss of motivation, the closure of such community venues has no doubt played a huge part.
Revenues generated by schools and community venues with the assistance of our lettings solutions, BookingsPlus and BookingsGuru, which are designed to help venues to open their facilities to the local community, are down by 46% in the last 12 months, showing the scale at which these venues have reduced their levels of community activity since the start of the outbreak.
The recent figures from Sport England show that almost a third of children were classed as ‘inactive’ (doing less than 30 minutes of physical activity per day) as a result of lockdown restrictions and that is why UK Active, which represents the physical activity industry, is urging the Government to formulate a plan to get children moving again. The plan should be able to support children whilst restrictions are fully eased and should prioritise the reopening of youth activity as soon as is possible. As per the Government’s recent roadmap, community venues can reopen from 29th March with a small amount of activity which can include youth and outdoor sessions. To ensure the provision of such activities can start on time with maximum benefits, venues should start to consider now, a solution to help them reopen safely.
Sam Nixon, BookingsGuru Manager, oversaw the restarting of community activities at Kajima Community’s partner schools following the first national lockdown : “Over the summer months, we were encouraged by the enthusiasm that our own partner schools had to reopen to lettings as soon as they could. The Guru team assisted a number of these venues to reopen safely and with confidence through the introduction of COVID-specific cleaning protocols, risk assessments and codes of conduct as well as constant communications with hirers and key site staff, ensuring that every aspect of the school’s lettings ran smoothly.
A number of other venues remained closed fully throughout this period which meant the schools that did reopen were very busy and had an opportunity to actually increase their bookings, due to the lack of competition. Many of the groups and classes who managed to transfer to online classes during the lockdown had maintained their following meaning there was still demand from users to take part in more socially interactive, albeit distanced, classes.”
You can read the findings of the full Sport England survey online at https://www.linkedin.com/posts/sport-england_understanding-the-impact-of-coronavirus-activity-6764889076127567873-LGfe.
To find out more about our lettings solutions and how our team of experts can help your venue get set up and ready for the return of community activity visit www.bookingsguru.co.uk or www.bookingsplus.co.uk.