Benalla Ensign

Study reveals COVID impact on community sport

- By Liam Nash

Just how badly has community sport in the Goulburn Valley been hit due to COVID-19?

While it’s near-on impossible to judge from a local perspectiv­e, a study launched by the Australian Sports Foundation (ASF) has pulled back the curtain on the pandemic’s impact on codes across the nation.

According to findings of the study which was first launched in May 2020, about 70,000 community sports clubs face serious concerns in three crucial areas.

Financial instabilit­y, declining participat­ion and declining volunteeri­ng were named as those areas.

As lengthy hiatuses on the sidelines play heavily on members’ minds, many chose not to return to the field in 2021; and it is seriously damaging grassroots clubs.

A whopping 13 per cent of clubs reported concerns about financial solvency — indicating about 9000 clubs nationwide are considered at risk of going under.

On top of that, close to 83 per cent of respondent­s reported lost revenue, with an average decline of $18,500 and almost every revenue stream affected.

But while the situation appears grim, there is some solace.

Advice from the ASF urged clubs to engage in processes designed to help soften the blow, starting with creating a fundraisin­g project — which can be done on the ASF website — to enable ongoing fundraisin­g throughout the pandemic and beyond.

Patrons were also encouraged to make a tax-deductible donation to their local club via the fundraisin­g project page to relieve financial pressure and potential risk of closure, or even donate to the ASF’s Back to Sport Fund.

Detailing the fund, ASF chief executive Patrick Walker Money said donations would be allocated to community sports clubs via grants to support them through this crisis and to help grow participat­ion.

“While different levels of government have stepped in to provide some support to the sector, responses showed that this had only covered less than a third of the revenue shortfall, indicating much more support will be needed in the months ahead,” he said.

“To solve a problem of this scale requires a collaborat­ive approach, so we are calling on all who care about the role of sport in creating healthy, inclusive communitie­s to help us fund grassroots sport’s recovery.”

▯ Donations to the Back to Sport Fund can be made at https://recovery.sports

Well the timing of the matches on squash night has changed a bit, but the fun hasn’t.

Soon it is hoped that we will be able to have up to 30 people at the courts at a time.

This will mean an end to having two separate start times on squash nights, but is looking likely to mean that players at the courts are required to be vaccinated.

Changes in the past have been handled well and we have had as much squash as we possibly could have within the rules.

There will still be changes in the future, but they are all heading in a positive direction, so we look forward to taking on these changes and still playing squash.

Here are the results of last week’s Round 9 of the Spring season competitio­n:

Section 1:

Custom Squash Team defeated Dr Stuart Jones Dentist Team 2 rubbers to 1: Greg Murphy (fill-in) defeated Stuart Jones 3/1, Paul O’Brien lost to Mark Rogers 1/3, Robbie Elliott defeated Jason Dean3/1 and unfortunat­ely Connor McCombe and Rahis Baig gave a walkover to each other by both not turning up.

Caslek Computing and Cabling Team defeated Benalla Bobcat Team 2 rubbers each, 10 games to 8: Sandy Patterson lost to Wally Pastuszka 2/3, Gerard Vitti defeated Rod Firmer 3/0, Andrew Ham defeated Treena McNair (fill-in) 3/2 and Gerry Margat (fill-in) defeated Gary Manning 3/2.

Section 2:

Steph Ryan MP Team defeated Stuart Green Plumbing Team 3 rubbers to 1: Liam Thivillier-Lefebvre lost to Daniel Scott 1/3, Ray Moulday defeated Greg Cornell 3/2, Dee Manning defeated Damien Gilbert 3/2 and Andrew Costello defeated Alex Briggs 3/0.

Hollywoods Pizza Team defeated HP Excavation­s Team 2 rubbers each, 8 games to 7: Alex Scherini defeated Liam Margat 3/1, Sharon Gysberts lost to Toby Currie 2/3, Kyle Margat lost to Jye Pastuszka 0/3 and Lucas Ham defeated Dawn Shaw 3/0.

▯ Look for Benalla Squash Club on FaceBook. Let us know if you want to join in.

 ?? ?? Taking a stand: In response to damning numbers from its study, the Australian Sport Foundation is pushing a Back to Sport Fund to help community sport clubs deal with the rolling impact of COVID-19.
Taking a stand: In response to damning numbers from its study, the Australian Sport Foundation is pushing a Back to Sport Fund to help community sport clubs deal with the rolling impact of COVID-19.

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