BUCS echo calls for sports support fund

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British Universities & College Sport (BUCS) has joined nationwide calls to introduce a ‘sports recovery fund’ to support the sports and activity sector in the UK following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chief Executive of BUCS, Vince Mayne, has signed a letter written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, calling on him to safeguard the physical and mental wellbeing of future generations by investing in a recovery fund.

Fronted by UKActive, the letter was signed by more than 100 sports organisations throughout the UK.

The letter calls for funds to protect existing jobs and sports wellbeing facilities which will be able support programmes tackling inequalities such as, “inactivity among women, lower socio-economic groups, BAME communities and people with disabilities”, which have been highlighted more than ever by the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are also calls to provide support to enable more digital opportunities to be made available in the sector, increasing accessibility for groups who traditionally aren’t as active.

BUCS leagues are vital for competitive sport across UK universities (Image: University of Stirling Baseball)

The UKActive letter states: “Grassroots sport and physical activity is an essential part of the UK’s recovery, not just in terms of improved physical wellbeing and reducing the burden on the NHS, but the positive impact it has on mental wellbeing, as well as helping to overcome societal challenges such as loneliness, crime and isolation.

“However, the sector has been heavily impacted by COVID-19, with gyms and leisure centres having to shut their doors, community sport being cancelled, and heavy restrictions put in place since re-opening. This has significantly impacted the commercial viability of the sector, which has resulted in many local sport, fitness and leisure facilities announcing closures and job losses.

We call on the Government to deliver the urgent fiscal, taxation and regulatory support required to save sports and activity providers across the UK from disappearing from our communities at the time they are needed most.”

BUCS leagues, which have been delayed this season by the pandemic, play a vital role in university sport, with over 50 sports now featured competitively. The organisation aims to continue to be a place where individuals of all backgrounds can come together to play the sport they love.

According to its CEO, support in the form of a ‘sports recovery fund’ will help BUCS maintain its level of prominence in the UK university sports scene, whilst tackling challenges of accessibility and inequality.

Featured Image: University of Nottingham Sport

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