Local sports groups are ‘feeling the pinch’ – due to the current economic climate
A poll of 2,000 adults found local sports groups are feeling the pinch due to the current economic climate - with 19 per cent admitting the cost-of-living has affected their decision to join clubs.
And a lack of resources to promote sports clubs to locals may also be impacting cashflow, with 19 per cent unaware of any groups in their area.
The research was commissioned by Greene King IPA which has installed a 'living billboard' in Birmingham to raise awareness of grassroots funding and highlight the problem of poor pitches.
It was created after the study found 11 per cent describe the facilities of their local clubs as 'fair to poor' and 17 per cent claim they're not accessible enough to everyone in their community.
A complex business
Chartered horticulturist David Domoney is backing the pub and brewing company's 'Proud to Pitch In' campaign where 10p from pints of Greene King IPA sold and 50p from 4X500ml can packs sold goes towards funding local sports clubs.
The celebrity gardener said: "Pitch maintenance is an incredibly complex business.
"It takes months of dedicated, specialist care to keep a track, pitch or court up to standard and the sad reality is, many clubs can't afford it.
"For many sports, specialist equipment it needed to maintain the turf all year round, and with disruptive weather, which we get a lot of in this country, it can have a serious impact on maintenance.
"As well as financial implications, poor quality turf is a major safety issue, and unfortunately many clubs are being forced to cancel games rather than risk injury for their players."
Sustaining grassroots clubs
The study also found 75 per cent consider grassroots sports clubs to be beneficial to local communities, with motivating people to get out of the house (68 per cent), fostering a sense of 'community spirit' (68 per cent), and helping individuals make friends (67 per cent) among the positives.
On this note, 68 per cent of those polled through OnePoll have made an average of eight (7.6) friends through sports clubs.
As such, 38 per cent of adults with such facilities where they live would be 'sad' if clubs in their area were forced to close, 17 per cent would be 'angry', and 16 per cent 'wouldn't be surprised'.
Emma Hibbert, spokesperson for Greene King IPA which has so far awarded over £600,000 in funding to grassroots sports clubs, said: "We launched the Proud to Pitch In scheme almost two years ago.
"And we're delighted to see the impact the funding is having on community sport, however we know there's a long way to go and even more clubs we can help. Grassroots sport has a major impact not just on local communities, but at every level of the sporting pyramid, which is why we're encouraging the nation to get behind the scheme and keep the grassroots growing."