Research finds clubs are struggling, but foundation offers help
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