Shepparton News

Research finds clubs are struggling, but foundation offers help

- Https:/ /recovery.sportsfoun­ donate-to-covid/

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, an approximat­e 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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia