LAST week, Sport England announced that the number of active young sportsmen and women was in decline.
But a leading sports entrepreneur argues Britain’s sporting legacy is secure.
“Interest in sport amongst young people seems stronger than ever,” said Luke Mohr – the founder of GO Mammoth, a new social sports club which since its launch in 2010 has over 2,000 members.
“Sport England’s figures may well reflect declining participation in traditional sports clubs, but that’s only half the picture. What about all the young people joining organisations like us? Because we don’t fit the traditional mould our figures aren’t included. But these days I think the trend of young people is increasingly about variety and flexibility rather than single venues and specialisation in one sport,” he said.
Sport England’s assessment was that the number of young people (between 16-19 years-old) participating in sports at least three times had fallen from 930,400 in 2007/8 to 825,900 last year.
“If we are to maintain the current level of public investment in grassroots sport, we need more governing bodies to demonstrate they can increase participation in their sports,” said Jennie Price, Sport England chief executive.
A reflection of this is that Sport England has reduced its funding of the England and Wales Cricket Board by £312,188 because the number of adults playing cricket has fallen below target.
“Sport England is doing a fantastic job but we also have to consider those people who want to play sport as much for social reasons,” said Mohr.
“Young people haven’t the time to commit to the regular training sessions that traditional sports clubs require but it doesn’t mean that their passion for sport is declining.”
Mohr launched his social sports club GO Mammoth in London last year and already has well over 200 teams competing in its leagues each season.
He is predicting similar growth throughout this Olympic year.
Operating out of a range of hired venues such as sports centres, schools and parks, their leagues include basketball, dodgeball, football, netball, softball, touch rugby and volleyball.
“The key is our range of sports and locations and the fact that we’re open to individuals of all ability – not just the guys and girls that played in the first and seconds team at school.
“Plus we offer a great social platform.
“This makes us much more accessible than traditional clubs and, according to our members, a lot more fun!” said Mohr.
For more details visit www.gomammoth.co.uk