Community Leisure UK Publishes New Covid-19 Impact Report

Published on: November 16th 2020

Community Leisure UK’s latest insight report illustrates the significant impact that Covid-19 continues to have on charitable trusts financial position and business security. The newest report highlights:

  • A quarter of members report to be insecure or non-viable for the next 6 months.
  • Members in Wales are faring better financially than members in Scotland and England. 
    • English trusts have, on average, lost all of their reserves and currently have, on average per organisation, a deficit of £336k in reserves.
    • Scottish trusts have, on average, lost 17% of their reserves so far. It is expected that by the end of this financial year (March 2021), Scottish trusts will have lost 89% of their unrestricted reserve levels. 
    • Currently, Welsh trusts have, on average, lost 49% of their reserves. It is expected that by the end of this financial year (March 2021), Welsh trusts will not lose more of their reserves thanks to sector specific funding.
  • It is anticipated that by the end of this financial year (March 2021), trusts will have, on average, accrued a £2.8 million deficit. This is on top of the already accrued average deficit of £1.5million per organisation during the first lockdown earlier this year.
  • Overall, the number of members who have been able to access sector-specific funding remains low.
    • For England, most funding has come from Arts Council England’ managed funding pots, however, the vast majority of members in England have not yet received any funding for their leisure portfolio. 
    • In Scotland, the only sector-specific funding that a few members have been able to access is the Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund. However, they anticipate accessing the new Lost Income Scheme. 
    • In Wales, members have received sector-specific funding from both a culture and leisure perspective. In addition, Welsh trusts managing leisure in particular have benefited significantly from the Hardship Fund with most already having accessed this funding or expecting to access soon.
  • Trusts have made some significant changes to their staffing structure. Most commonly, staff are working on reduced hours, and the majority have planned and confirmed redundancies or, in the case of casual staff, not offered any work. 
  • The majority of members who work with a Council contract report that their Local Authority partners have been supportive.
  • Most groups with protected characteristics, including ethnic minority groups, women only religious groups, low socio economic groups, disabled and older people, have returned to members’ facilities upon reopening.
  • On average, 18% of members’ facilities remained closed despite being allowed to reopen. The main reason for this being that it is not economically viable to reopen. 75% of members are working with a strategic recovery plan, with the four priority areas that need further investment being digital technology, facility maintenance and investment, workforce remodelling, and marketing and promotion strategies.