Financial Hardship Set to Hit Generation of Kids’ Sports Dreams

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Financial Hardship Set to Hit Generation of Kids’ Sports Dreams

New findings released today by financial wellbeing organisation Money Wellness reveal the challenges faced by families across the UK in affording out-of-school sports activities for their children. With Euros 2024 underway and Wimbledon and the Olympics just weeks away, the role of sport in our lives is making headlines. However, many kids find their dreams and well-being stifled by rising living costs and fees associated with playing sports.

A survey of parents with a total household income of less than £35,000 per year, whose children participate in extracurricular sports, highlights the struggle to cover costs. Over half (56%) of parents reported financial difficulties, while a third had to make cutbacks in other areas of their lives to ensure their kids could participate. One in five parents resorted to working overtime to pay for lessons, and one in ten had to limit their children’s attendance at classes or training.

Financial Hardship Set To Hit Generation Of Kids’ Sports Dreams

Sebrina McCullough, Director of External Relations at Money Wellness, emphasised the documented benefits of children participating in sports, including improved physical and mental health and the development of teamwork skills. She expressed concern that cost remains a barrier for children from low-income families. Money Wellness aims to assist struggling families by ensuring they receive entitled benefits and exploring grants to alleviate financial worries. Additionally, the organization provides guidance on dealing with debt to help people live with less stress.

For parents whose children show talent in sports but struggle with lesson costs, SportsAid’s “Backing the Best” scheme offers financial support. This program assists athletes who need financial help to progress. Awards, worth up to £5,000 annually, can be used for travel, medical bills, and accommodation.

Phil Smith, Director of Sport and Sport England, stated, “Backing the Best has been designed to give a helping hand to those who need it—so that ability and attitude are the only criteria for success, not money. Ultimately, we want our national teams to represent our country, not just those who can afford to reach the top.”

If your children aren’t on the brink of stardom yet, there are other ways to reduce the cost of their sporting activities. In 2023, Sport England supported over a thousand projects nationwide with awards totalling £10 million. Crowdfunding by individuals, businesses, and groups further contributed to local community projects.

Organisations like Sport England enable clubs across the country to offer bursaries or financial assistance, allowing kids to participate for free or at a fraction of the usual cost. Parents interested in joining local clubs should inquire about support for youngsters from low-income families.

Additionally, consider checking out sessions and classes run by your local council—they are generally more affordable than private facilities. Visit your local authority’s website for details on low-cost activities for kids. Community sport hubs, which bring together various clubs and local partners, offer a budget-friendly way to participate in a range of disciplines.

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