Grassroots Sport Playfinder News

74% believe outdoor sport can be carried out in a COVID19-secure environment

Survey Summary

  • 81% felt we should prioritise sport more than ever 
  • 80% played sport over lockdown to look after their mental health 
  • 85% disagreed with the Government’s decision to ban all grassroots sports

Please find the survey in full here.

What do these results mean? 

The new year saw the Government announce another national lockdown, deciding to suspend all grassroots sports. The move that has been widely questioned, in part due to the negative consequences on mental health.

To better understand the effects of this, Playfinder has carried out a survey which has painted a worrying picture. Out of 132 respondents, a staggering 61% said mental health has worsened over the pandemic, while only 3% said their mental health had improved.

The Government’s decision caused outrage with public figures like ex-footballer Robbie Savage countering the suspension of grassroots sports as ‘nonsensical’. It seems the general public agree with this sentiment, with 85% of those surveyed disagreeing with the grassroots sport ban.

Understandably, people felt the main priority of the Government during the second lockdown was to contain the virus. However, when asked how important sport is during a time like this, 80% felt that sport should be prioritised now more than ever.

The frustration of not being able to play sport has been a reoccurring theme throughout the lockdowns. 70% of those who said they’ve played less sport during the pandemic put it down to local facilities being closed. Since Playfinder introduced their Lockdown filter in May 2020, it’s been used 180,000 times by people searching for open facilities.

Hear from our CEO

Jamie Foale, CEO of Playfinder, said about the survey results: “The data shows a growing problem as people struggle through the second lockdown which has been harder than the first. This is not just because of the time of year, but also the growing sense of frustration people feel. Lots of attention has rightly been on the sports and fitness industry’s suffering. However, it’s easy to forget that this also leads to worsening fitness and increased loneliness amongst the UK public. This is resulting in a mental and physical health crisis as we come out of the pandemic. News of the vaccine is great but we should now have a conversation about accelerating the reopening of facilities as we work towards national immunity.”

74% of those surveyed believe outdoor sport can be carried out in a COVID-secure environment. The sport and fitness industry has worked day and night to ensure the public could enjoy a slight return to normality by adapting to circumstances. Gyms introduced temperature checks and socially distanced workouts. Tennis courts introduced buffer periods between bookings. Playfinder built an online risk assessment form for players to complete before bookings. However, these safety improvements weren’t factored into the decision to suspend amateur sport.