"This report rightly recognises that local government is at the forefront of providing facilities, supporting both formal and informal opportunities for activities, and accessible to all members of the community."
Responding to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee report on Sport in our Communities, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Culture Tourism and Sport Board, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: “Grassroots sport and physical activity has an essential role within the fabric of many communities and it is integral in our recovery from COVID-19.
“It can support work to tackle the loneliness and health inequalities that have been exacerbated by the pandemic, bring communities together and promote healthier lifestyles. The development and success of athletes in elite sports is also dependent on a solid grassroots base.
“This report rightly recognises that local government is at the forefront of providing facilities, supporting both formal and informal opportunities for activities, and accessible to all members of the community.
“Councils are responsible for 31 per cent of grass pitches; 13 per cent of sports halls; and almost a fifth of all health and fitness facilities. The majority of accessible water space is also found in public pools compared to provision provided by schools and the private sector. But, as the report recognises, there is already significant competition for use of available facilities, which will worsen as one in three district councils expect to have to close their facilities, as highlighted by our recent survey of councils.
“We urge the Government to use the forthcoming Spending Review to put local government finances on a long-term, sustainable footing, so councils can repair ageing facilities, and resume providing sports development support to the clubs and communities that need it.”