October 15, 2020

Back the campaign for a Sports Recovery Fund and #SaveOurSports from the impact of Covid-19

As further government restrictions are put in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19, grassroots sport, fitness and leisure facilities are facing collapse.

Without emergency government support, like that given to the arts sector, community sport and physical activity faces a bleak future that will be difficult to recover from, impacting the nation's physical and mental health and damaging Britain's ability to Build Back Better.

That's why we are supporting the Sports Recovery Fund petition, run by UK Active and Sport + Recreation Alliance, which calls on the government to instigate emergency support to ensure sport clubs, fitness and leisure facilities - the lifeblood of communities across the nation - can remain open and survive the coming difficult months.

Last month, data reported by ukactive from more than 1,500 community sport and leisure facilities, accounting for more than 22 million public visits, showed just 78 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among customers in England (a rate of 0.34 cases per 100,000 visits).

Research from Sheffield Hallam and Sport England shows that sports clubs and public leisure facilities contribute more than £72bn of social value annually across England and play a critical role in supporting rehabilitation from many conditions such as cancer, heart disease, mental health issues and Covid-19.

Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive said: "In order for our sector to continue to be on the frontline of the nation's recovery from Covid-19, it requires urgent support. Jobs need to be protected and facilities maintained in order to deliver vital community services.

"Without a Government intervention we risk losing an huge proportion of these community assets, which will put a great strain on the health and wellbeing of the nation as we approach these long winter months. This would have a huge impact on our NHS's ability to manage the pandemic”.

Lisa Wainwright, CEO of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, said: "The sport and physical activity sector is unified in its voice that more needs to be done by Government to protect the sector.

"We are delighted to see that the Government is looking to support the larger professional sports, who have been significantly impacted by a lack of matchday revenue, however it is now vital that attentions are turned to the impacts Covid-19 is having on community sport and physical activity.

"The health, wellbeing and prosperity of the nation needs to be protected through a Sports Recovery Fund that ensures our sector is not another victim of Covid-19”.

The request to Government

  • Create a Sports Recovery Fund to ensure Covid doesn't lead to a lost generation
    of sport and activity.
  • Extend the VAT reduction that has been applied to the culture and hospitality
    sectors to the sport and physical activity sector.
  • Protect access to sport and physical activity during any local lockdowns.


1. Back the #SaveOurSports campaign through promoting via your social channels and encouraging your members, customers and users to share the message.

2. Write to your constituency MPs or APPG members outlining the impacts should the Sports Recovery Fund not be made available.

3. Capture and send the best case studies to willsmithard@ukactive.org.uk
or asexton@sportandrecreation.org.uk detailing:
- The impact on the lives of those who stand to lose the most: vulnerable participants/users, volunteers or staff members.
- The positive impacts grassroots sport and physical activity provide your local communities.

N.B. please ensure you get permission from anyone named to use their name and corresponding images or send anonymously.


The Sports Recovery Fund would help prevent the closure of facilities which form the bedrock of communities across the country which have a disproportionately greater impact on people from lower income backgrounds, BAME, and disability groups. Without financial support, nearly half of public leisure facilities face risk of permanent closure by Christmas.

Join us and support the campaign by sharing why your local facility is so important to you via your social channels using #SaveOurSports.

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