Community Pulse October 2021 Results

By Sported |  8th November 2021

Main challenges facing community sports groups are re-engaging with young people and finding facilities.


The latest piece of Sported research, based on answers from 437 grassroots sports groups across the UK, has found that far fewer young people are attending their sports groups since the Covid-19 pandemic started. 

  • 58% of groups have less than 80% of their young people attending
  • 30% of groups stating less than 60% of their participants had returned since re-opening

The issue of encouraging young people to return to their groups seems to be one that is disproportionately affecting those from areas of high deprivation. Fewer young people have returned to groups located in areas of high deprivation than elsewhere and reported anxiety levels were higher in those areas.


Groups are also struggling to find places to carry out their groups’ activities since re-opening.

  • 43% of groups have found it harder and 25% have found it much harder.

The most common reason given for those groups that have no yet re-opened, at 33%, was no access of limited access to facilities.

The pandemic and lockdowns have also highlighted the usefulness of digital and IT skills.

  • 60% of groups reported being a little confident in their organisation’s general digital capabilities.
  • However, 81% of groups reported that they would like support developing their digital capabilities further.

The good news is that groups have mostly reopened:

  • 97% of groups have reopened
  • 92% of unopened groups expect to reopen in the next 6 months

Confidence in organisational survival is at the highest and anxiety is at the lowest so far this year:

  • 68% of groups are extremely confident their organisation will survive in the next 6 months and
  • 0% of groups not that confident or not confident at all

Anxiety around mental health, organisations, and participants is also at the lowest compared to January and April 2021.

Nicola Walker , CEO Sported:

“We are delighted that the vast majority of our groups have reopened and are more confident in their future. But it is concerning that many of their young people have not yet returned and much still needs to be done to get better access to the facilities they need. Sported’s services are driven by the needs of our members and this level of insight is invaluable in remaining relevant.”

Sported regularly conducts research within its network, in order to fully understand the ever-changing challenges and barriers the groups face. The Community Pulse provides us with invaluable insight into the sector so that we can adapt to meet the immediate needs and provide support accordingly.

Read the full Community Pulse research