Scoring future goals: The health of grassroot sport in the UK - SportsHotels - The sports accommodation experts

Scoring future goals: The health of grassroot sport in the UK is a proud supporter of local sports teams. We’re committed to helping schools and local organisers get their teams where they need to be, so they can compete, learn, and grow to their full potential. We keep a close eye on grassroots sport, and we wanted to share what we’re seeing, and why it’s so important.

Every year the sector delivers almost £10bn in health savings through the prevention of heart disease and stroke, dementia, diabetes, cancer and depression.” – Lisa Wainwright, CEO of the Sport and Recreation Alliance.

Physical health and wellness are the most obvious benefits to everyone who participates, but sport is a big part of who we are in many ways! Studies into psychological and social advantages of sport keep adding to the list of reasons sport is so essential – especially at grassroots level and in vulnerable communities.

Any physical activity is a mood booster, and has long term positive effects on mental and social wellbeing:

  • Sport is a great way for all of us to take our minds off problems we’re dealing with, and give ourselves a break from school or work.
  • The social side has a massive impact – hanging out before and after a game, being part of a team and a social group, chatting out on the field, keeping in touch afterwards, and organising the next game are fantastic growth opportunities.
  • Youngsters can take pride in their sporting achievements long after the final whistle.
  • It creates a healthy sense of competitiveness and sportsmanship that impacts many other aspects of life.
  • It’s a great way to meet people from different neighbourhoods, with different interests and backgrounds, and form lifelong friendships.

On a more practical level, local sports clubs provide meeting points and safe spaces. This is particularly important in more vulnerable communities, where safe spaces are harder to find. 

Sports and team involvement can often bring out skills and talents that might be missed sitting at a school desk. It also helps to build a sense of self as an individual and as part of the community. Many people who have been involved in grassroots sport pay it forward later on, coaching their own kids or community teams, and building even more positive results.

Where Things Stand

Funding is always the biggest challenge for community sports centres and teams. That was felt more than ever after lockdown, and with rising costs for everything from electricity to sports kits and equipment, it has become even more difficult for some clubs to stay afloat, or for schools to keep their sports programmes running.

Participation has declined, and access to the spaces needed is getting harder to secure. More and more clubs are having to charge a membership fee to keep themselves afloat. Initiatives are popping up to keep grassroots sport going though – from local communities to councils and all the way up to government.

In March 2023, a government package of funding and other measures to help school sports was announced. Some of its goals are:

  • To give girls just as many opportunities to play sport as boys have
  • Improving the quality of PE and after-school sport in primary schools (£600 million over two years)
  • Providing £22 million to the School Games Organiser (SGO) network, which supports 2.2 million participation opportunities for children each year, including 28,000 school sports events.
  • Up to £57 million to open up more school sport facilities outside of school hours – focusing on girls, disadvantaged pupils, and pupils with special educational needs.

But what about the community sports clubs?

Government’s “Get Active” sports strategy, published in August 2023, aims to make everyone across the UK more active, and much of this will need to begin in grassroots settings. It includes participation targets for all ages that are designed to reduce inequalities, and we see this as a very positive step forward.

Grassroots clubs give young people an opportunity to learn and shine – and they can be the starting block for future sports stars! Even watching one or two grassroots sports events, you’re bound to see the smiles and cheering that show just how important every game is.

The team is committed to working with local sports teams and helping grassroots sport to flourish. We’re using our experience and expertise organising team travel, and our exceptional network of accommodation, to help even more people enjoy all the benefits sport has t offer.

We can’t wait to do even more, so if your team needs to travel please get in touch! We’ll help arrange the most appropriate accommodation – and now you can send us your entire fixture list, and we’ll arrange accommodation for the group, for the entire season.

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