Blog entry by Olivia Warwick
Ann Craft Trust share with us their thoughts on the increasing cost of living and ways in which that can impact individual wellbeing and the sports sector as a whole. The blog provides useful guidance and further support to improve organisation's confidence in helping people during these uncertain times.
The cost of living has increased sharply across the UK during 2021 and 2022 and is set to continue to rise into 2023.
The cost of everyday essentials, like food and energy, are rising much faster than average household wages. This ongoing situation has been described as a ‘cost of living crisis’.
A rise in the cost-of-living can impact an individual’s wellbeing in a number of ways:
- Financial Security – People might struggle to afford essential items, including food, water, heating, medication, and therapy. This can lead to stress and anxiety, and some unhealthy coping mechanisms, including excessive drinking, drug-taking, or gambling.
- Rising Crime – Some may feel that they have no choice but to steal to survive. On top of this, gangs may exploit individuals facing financial issues, grooming them into serious criminal activity, including drug-dealing. Adults at risk may be particularly vulnerable to this sort of exploitation.
- Support Networks – One report suggests that 22% of UK adults are seeing their support networks less. People with care and support needs might rely on trusted networks, such as family and friends, for essential support. If they cannot afford to access this support, there’s a risk they’ll be isolated, and more at risk of abuse and neglect.
How Is The Cost-of-Living Crisis Impacting Sport and Activity?
A study by Mind found that 25% of people can no longer afford certain social activities, which includes participation in exercise, fitness classes, and grassroot sports.
Sport and activity clubs are also struggling to cope. They’re facing rising energy bills and reduced membership numbers following the recent pandemic. Some may choose to pass on increased costs to their members – at a time when they can least afford it.
Sport and physical activity can make a huge difference to an individual’s wellbeing, due to the mix of the physical benefits of exercise and the social aspects that come with taking part in group activities. On the other hand, inactivity can compound feelings of stress, anxiety, and isolation.
Sport England has produced guidance for clubs and organisations on how to get people active at a low cost, along with some tips on keeping energy costs down.
How Can Sport and Activity Organisations Support People Through The Cost-of-Living Crisis?
Safeguarding is everyone’s business. Everyone has a role to play in supporting one another. Sport and activity clubs can work towards creating a positive culture that champions positive wellbeing.
Safeguarding often starts with a conversation. You may have concerns about someone – whether it’s a participant, a volunteer, or a member of staff. Simply asking, “how are you,” can kickstart a conversation that could lead to genuine change.
You don’t have to have all the answers. It may be enough to simply signpost a struggling individual to appropriate support services, so they can get the help they need. You’ll find a comprehensive list of signposting information and services that offer support on The Ann Craft Trust website.
Also take a look at our #SaferCultureSaferSport campaign, for resources that will help you work towards a positive culture that prioritises wellbeing.