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03 Mar 2021 196

UK Coaching statement on the Spring Budget 2021

UK Coaching welcomes the news of The Chancellor’s Budget and the continued financial support for millions of people and businesses hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Many of the nation’s 3 million coaches have done an amazing job at supporting the physical and mental health, and the social and emotional connections of our communities throughout the pandemic, switching their delivery online and/or abiding to social distancing guidelines when coaching face-to-face.

They will now be called upon again to play a critical role in bringing people and communities back together once lockdown restrictions are lifted and people return to sport and physical activity – vital to delivering Sport England’s 10-year vision to transform lives and communities.

Throughout this difficult time, packages of millions of pounds have been made available to our sector to cope with the short- and long-term impact of the pandemic, all of which have been gratefully received. However, this third lockdown has arguably been the toughest, further impacting the nation’s activity levels and deepening the financial hit that coaches have taken – especially those who are self-employed.

Revoking support too soon would have been disastrous.

It is welcome news then that:

  • the furlough scheme and the self-employed grants will be extended to September
  • and those who became self-employed in the 2019-2020 tax year will be allowed to get grants – meaning 600,000 more self-employed people will be eligible. 

This on top of a £300 million package to help save summer sport and a doubling of apprentice incentive payments to businesses.

The support is necessary to help coaches and the wider sport and physical activity sector to recover.

However, some coaches will still be facing incredible challenges. Some, being the same coaches, will still not be able to access Government support, others will have had their confidence knocked affecting their mental well-being and others will be unsure about how to return to coaching. 

We must, therefore, invest in coaches – especially those who are self-employed and work across multiple environments, such as education, leisure, local sports clubs, and other community settings such as health and youth provision – if we are to drive accessible activity for all and bring people and communities back together through physical activity and sport. We must also be able to support, through funding and employment, those coaches who work in communities that have been hit hardest, as well as encouraging new people into the coaching profession through apprenticeships and schemes such as Kickstart.

UK Coaching will continue to collaborate with organisations across the sport and physical activity sector to lobby for further support for coaches to return post-furlough and be utilised to support programmes such as summer schools to encourage physical activity in the next generation.

If we fail to support those who deliver physical activity and sport, the coaches, it may take the nation a decade to return to where we were pre-COVID.

Over the last 12 months, we have been providing coaches with access to key information and advice, including how to deliver great coaching online, so that they can continue to get, and keep, the nation moving. Recently, we launched a Coaching Through Covid Hub on our learning and development platform – ukcoaching.org that aims to empower coaches to keep coaching and hone their skills until Government restrictions are lifted.

More information on the Budget can be found at GOV.UK.