Grassroots sport under the Lords microscope

Volunteers making the difference in local sport

Volunteers making the difference in local sport - Credit: Archant

The plight of grassroots sport during the Covid crisis has come under the scrutiny of a special Committee at the House of Lords. 
It is all part of an ambition to devise and implement a National Plan for Sport and Recreation, with leading sports journalists invited to give evidence. 
Representatives from Sky News, Daily Mail, Channel 4, the Telegraph and the Athletic joined the virtual meeting and, while Covid was the main source of discussion, others areas included participation levels, women in sport and access to sport for people with disabilities. 
Ed Malyon, Managing Director of The Athletic, said: “Team sports at an amateur level has disappeared, which has had a serious impact on millions of people around the country. 
“Whether it is local league football, rugby, tennis etc. The entire cricket season was virtually wiped out and every sport has been impacted. 
“We hope we can use this enforced break as an opportunity and there is more awareness now on ways in which individuals can practise and stay fit on their own. 
“The streaming of workouts has been immensely popular, such as Joe Wicks. It would have been unthinkable before the pandemic and we might see more Government investment into streaming fitness classes in the future. 
“I believe team sports will bounce back but there is more of a focus on individual fitness and wellbeing at the moment.” 
Martha Kelner from Sky News added: “The latest lockdown has brought renewed devastation to grassroots sports. 
“A recent survey showed that three million adults who were previously involved in sport are now not active at all. 
“The summer weather obviously helped with the previous lockdown. It’s not so easy to be motivated in the dark winter days. 
“All sport has been devastated by the pandemic, including things that often fly under the national radar, such as netball, which has made huge progress on a national level. The future is very uncertain.”  
It was a fascinating debate and, while we all know there are far bigger priorities at present, heartening to see that grassroots sport and recreation has not been forgotten.   

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