Australian Sports Foundation launches national campaign for community sport

By Aydin Payne

Community sport is heading into a crisis the Australian Sports Foundation has warned.

The sports charity launched a national campaign to help determine the impact the coronavirus pandemic will have on community sports clubs.

The campaign is based on a survey of clubs to determine the best way the national sports charity can assist in getting clubs through the public health crisis.

More than 600 clubs have already completed the survey since Wednesday, with less than two weeks until the survey closes on June 3.

Despite sporting codes recently announcing their return to play guidelines, Australian Sports Foundation chief executive Patrick Walker believes the crisis in community sport has only just begun.

“There is a crisis in Australian community sport, which presents a real risk to the physical and mental health of our communities,” Walker 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 grassroots clubs will really start.”

The Australian Sports Foundation says community sports clubs will face a variety of issues.

Most noticeably, a loss of income due to sponsors and members suffering financial hardship.

And clubs having to fork out additional costs due to implementing new cleaning and sanitising regimes.

Over the past 30 years, the Australian Sports Foundation has supported thousands of sporting clubs and Walker highlighted the importance of those clubs during and after the pandemic.

“We know there are clubs who need help and we need to hear from them,” Walker said.

“Sport has the power to bring communities together, to break down social barriers and to improve the health and mental well-being of everyone,” Walker said.

“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.”

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