Responding to the latest figures, Lisa Wainwright, CEO of the Sport and Recreation Alliance said: “The results of this report were somewhat expected due to the incredibly tough conditions that have been imposed on the sector across the start of lockdown.
“It demonstrates the immense challenges that our members have had to face in unlocking physical activity and providing opportunities for the nation to battle back and remain physically and mentally healthy during the pandemic.
“The fact that over the last few months we have witnessed activity levels slowly increasing again across many sports is testament to the exceptional hard work and determination that the sector has put in place to overcome the barriers of this disruption.
“An area of concern is the disproportionate effect that lockdown has had on certain groups. Disabled people, those with long-term health conditions, people aged over 70 and people from Black, Asian and ethnic minority groups for whom fewer opportunities already exist, have found it increasingly difficult to get active”
“This serves as a reminder as to why community clubs and organised structures are so vital in the delivery of grassroots sport and recreation activity to every city, town and village in the country.
“They are the lifeblood of our nation and this report shows that when they are unable to serve their community, activity levels plummet. At the start of lockdown, three million people were less active.
“This is why, alongside ukactive and over 160 sport and recreation organisations, we have written to the Prime Minister and asked him to protect the future of community sport with a Sports Recovery Fund as part of the #SaveOurSports campaign.
“With the support of government and working with our partners in the sector, we are confident that the incredible resilience shown by our members will continue and we will be able to return to the positive progression in activity levels shown before the pandemic.”