Community sports clubs face COVID financial challenges

Lucy Ryan lines one up on the netball court.
Lucy Ryan lines one up on the netball court.

The Australian Sports Foundation is launching a national campaign to help it determine the impact on community sports clubs from the COVID-19 pandemic, and to quantify the funding challenges facing community clubs across Australia.

Port Macquarie-Hastings sports clubs are being asked to participate and provide feedback.

Following a pilot survey by the Australian Sports Foundation in April, responses showed that there are significant problems that may lead to many community clubs falling by the wayside.

"There is a crisis in Australian community sport, which presents a real risk to the physical and mental health of our communities," Patrick Walker, CEO of the Australian Sports Foundation said.

"To the general public it may seem like the crisis is coming to an end with mooted openings of community sports clubs across Australia, but there are issues ahead that haven't been addressed yet. Trying to reopen and get members back onto sports fields is where the crisis for grass roots clubs will really start.

"Sports clubs will face issues from loss of income because local sponsors have suffered or because members can't afford to rejoin as they have lost their jobs, and the double whammy of additional costs through having to implement new cleaning and sanitising regimes."

The campaign will be based on a mass survey of community clubs to help determine additional funding needs and the best way for the Australian Sports Foundation to assist clubs find the funding to open and get their members back to doing what they love.

"We know there are clubs who need help and we need to hear from them. If the Australian Sports Foundation doesn't know you exist, we can't help you," Mr Walker said.

"Please take the time to tell us how your club has been impacted, and to encourage other community clubs to do the same. We will use the information to raise funds and advocate for more support for community clubs."

As Australia's national sports charity, the Australian Sports Foundation is uniquely able to channel philanthropic funding to community clubs, and this is a key objective of the campaign.

"Sport has the power to bring communities together, to break down social barriers and to improve the health and mental wellbeing of everyone. It will play a vital role as our communities recover from this crisis, and we want to make sure that our community sports clubs are able to survive and help that process."

To participate in this campaign and ensure your club's voice is heard, or to find out more, please visit covid.sportsfoundation.org.au

The survey is open until June 3.

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