It is right that most of the Sport and Physical Activity sector is working hard now in survival mode. But there will be a time in the near future when the country emerges from the Coronavirus and people will want to return to 'normal'
But in the post-Coronavirus world what should normal look like?
Is this an opportunity not to rush back to our old ways. What has changed?
Whilst there is plenty of media speculation about which aspects of life will never be the same what do we think will have altered fundamentally in our sector?
I would imagine most team sports just want to get back to competition, runners want to run and cyclists want to cycle? Gyms will re-open and local community activity will look very similar. But on the other hand how can things look just the same when there has been such devastating impact on the finances of the sector. Will our volunteers and members return now they have discovered other things in their lives?
The fact that Government has put staying physically active as a key plank of its policy is a major policy win. We need to work hard to make sure they understand what they have been saying and embed it into future thinking. But even this policy has highlighted some uncomfortable truths about our divided nation. Access even to green open spaces has highlighted the social divide in Britain. Austerity has reduced public space and parks and who our leisure services are targeted at.
Every part of our sector will have horror stories about what they have lost during this period - and not just financially. Sport is mainly social. That has been lost but will be even more important moving forwards. This has been a difficult period for mental wellbeing as much as physical wellbeing.
There are multiple examples of organisations innovating - but we need more and to share them widely.
However, as a Think Tank we are here to create space and time to look at what a Post Coronavirus sport and physical Activity sector will look like and what the 'New Normal' could be. But it's not just us who needs to do this work. As usual we would love to source your ideas and create a special Post-Coronavirus debate brimming with ideas on this site.
We understand those numerous businesses and organisations that need to maintain or build a profile during this difficult time and we are here to amplify these messages, not compete. We will share and amplify the best of the thoughts, through our blogs and by building new ideas and campaigns which will be totally cross sector. Join us!
Join us. Submit your tweets, articles, ideas and posts. We are all in this together and we come out of this stronger through collaboration.
We are hosting a series of discussion papers and blogs on this site as we start to think about life after the Coronavirus (assuming we are able to return to some sort of normal if a Vaccine isn't found)
We would love your input and comments as always - either here or on social media!
Martyn Allison Proportionate Universalism (PDF, 7.8 Mb)
Martyn Allison argues The social, economic and political impact of the coronavirus crisis will be of such a magnitude that any attempt to simply repair the existing sport and physical activity system is doomed to fail and only a radical rethink and resetting of the system will be sustainable going forward