The response of voluntary community sports clubs to COVID-19

Geoff Nichols, Lindsay Findlay-King, Fiona Reid

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Community sports clubs’ (CSCs) are small organisations managed and delivered almost entirely by volunteers, are based in a particular location and allow members to play a sport and meet socially. Volunteering in sport-related activity, and CSCs in particular, is one of the most significant areas of volunteering across Europe. This chapter describes how CSCs have adapted to the restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. In-depth interviews and surveys show that volunteers have been as committed as ever and continually innovated the way sport has been provided. Clubs are sustainable financially, assisted by grants. Membership has been slightly negatively impacted but the underlying demand for sports participation, and the social rewards of club membership, remains strong. Thus, the infrastructure of 72,000 volunteer-led sports clubs in England has continued to facilitate sports participation and volunteering during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the associated welfare benefits. The clubs meet the collective interests of their members, yet there has been no notable movement to meet broader social needs arising from the pandemic.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCOVID-19 and the Voluntary and Community Sector in the UK
Subtitle of host publicationResponses, Impacts and Adaptation
EditorsJames Rees, Rob Macmillan, Chris Dayson, Chris Damm, Claire Bynner
Place of PublicationBristol
PublisherPolicy Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781447365532, 9781447365525
ISBN (Print)9781447365501
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2022

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