There are many challenges arising from the current economic circumstances and the needs for operators to maintain financial and environmental sustainability.

The rising cost of living is due to converging challenges, including:
• financial legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic
• conflict in Ukraine and associated economic sanctions
• global supply chain issues
• other global instability
• inflation, tax rises and wage stagnation.

"Two thirds of adults have told Sport England that they’ve made changes to their sport and physical activity behaviour"

We expect the resulting increase in cost of living to negatively impact sport and physical activity more than during previous recessions due to the significance and scale of these challenges.

Impact on health & physical activity levels

This crisis is likely to have huge public health implications with colder homes increasing risks of cardio-vascular problems, mould and damp exacerbating respiratory conditions as well as increased difficulties for those with arthritis and other mobility issues. With squeezed food budgets and the rising costs of using cooking appliances, there is a danger that we will also see a surge in demand for cheaper less-nutritious meals, and mental health conditions worsen as money worries mount up.

The impact of the cost of living is being felt across different groups of people. People from lower socioeconomic backgrounds living in the most deprived places (IMD-1-3) and people with a disability and/or long-term health condition are most likely to agree the cost of living is having a significant impact on their ability to be physically active.

People with long-term health conditions or a disability, older people and working age families with children, have been highlighted as the most vulnerable groups within the county, who may experience the rising cost of living more severely.

The insight suggests that inequalities are likely to have widened, as nearly 1 in 10 (7%) of those negatively impacted have stopped activity altogether due to the cost of living increases

Read Sport England's full report

Impact on volunteering

The rising cost of living is likely to impact on volunteering, as volunteers are forced to reduce or stop volunteering to prioritise paid work to pay rising bills. 

The sport and physical activity sector have seen rates of volunteering in sport and physical activity decline in recent years, with an increase in demand for both time and responsibility having a negative impact on their experience.

For voluntary and community sector organisations reacting to their own rising costs means that reimbursing volunteers may not be a viable option. If organisations can't afford to reimburse volunteers this could have a large impact on inclusion and diversity, meaning only those who can afford to be out of pocket are able to volunteer. The increase in fuel price also impacts volunteers who support activities in rural areas like many across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin, this may also be a contributing factor to volunteer drop out.

There is also a risk of burnout for those who are currently giving a lot of their time with 50% of current volunteers ‘at risk’ of dropping out.

Read Sport England's Full Report

What does this mean for our local area?

Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin has been identified as one of the most 'at risk' areas in the country and is likely to be heavily impacted by the rising cost of living.

The Cost of Living Vulnerability Index has highlighted Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin as high vulnerability. 

In Shropshire the following are contributing factors:

  • More houses are heated by oil, LPG, coal, wood
  • More households with poor insulation
  • Lack of rural transport infrastructure, forcing more reliance on cars
  • Limited or no internet access, coupled with limited mobile signal
  • Limited access to affordable food retailers
  • Low wage economy - many people claim benefits to top up low wages.

Support & Guidance

Sport England have developed a number of resources to support community groups and organisations with the rising cost of living. These include practical support on how energy efficiency measures can reduce running costs for organisations involved with physical activity and sports facilities. This page includes a framework for assessing energy costs and ideas to reduce energy consumption. 

The response from clubs, groups and organisations (what they are already doing or considering):

  • 71% will meet costs by increasing membership fees
  • 56% will not/cannot reduce expenditure
  • 33% will look at new funding opportunities
  • 36% will explore new ways of delivering activity

(Sport & Recreation Alliance, 2022)

coach and young people talking

Shropshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council have lots of resources, information and guidance available on their websites to support local residents, community groups, organisations and businesses:

Warm Welcomes

Shropshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council are providing safe spaces within our communities where residents can go for warmth, a chat, a hot drink and even an activity or two. 

Warm Places are being provided by different organisations, you can find your nearest Warm Welcome venues in Shropshire or Warm & Welcoming Spaces in Telford and Wrekin.

Get in touch

We’re keen to understand the impact of the Cost of Living Crisis on your organisation and the target groups that you are working with. We’re keen to hear about any ideas you have to support these target groups with their health and wellbeing through physical activity and moving more. 

Please send us an email at: [email protected]