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Self-employed sports and fitness coaches: are you prepared to lose more than half your clients?

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Cost of living rises force 90 per cent of people to stop taking part in sports and fitness classes 

The cost of living crisis is forcing 90 per cent of those aged under 34 to stop taking part in hobbies including fitness classes and grassroots sports, according to new research. This will not only have an impact on health and mental well-being but the earning power of freelance fitness and sports coaches.

The research showed that where you lived had a strong impact on how many people felt they could no longer afford to take part in sports. The study showed that:

  • 74% of people in Scotland would be forced to cut back on hobbies and sports
  • Glasgow was the most affected city, with a total of 79% across all age ranges admitting they can’t afford to continue hobbies and sports
  • Cardiff was the second most affected city, with a total of 68%
  • 90% of under 34s, 58% of 34-55s, and 35% of over 55s would be forced to stop 

One of the main reasons why people are having to quit their sporting and fitness activities is down to high fuel prices said used car buying service, ChooseMyCar.com, who sponsored the study.

“The results proved that many people are having to choose not to drive in order to continue to afford to live, meaning that many of their usual activities can no longer take place,” said the report.

Shockingly, nearly two-thirds of UK residents (58%) admitted that they will no longer be able to take part in their hobbies, such as fitness classes and grassroots sports. This jumped to a whopping 90 per cent in the under 34s age group, who are arguably the most affected by crippling fuel and energy bills.

This is particularly worrying in the context of the proven impact sports and fitness have on the mental health of young people. It has been well documented that mental health problems in younger people – particularly men – have seen a huge increase in the past few years.

Families and kids giving up hobbies and sports

The research also showed shocking stats on families cutting back on their children’s hobbies. Seventy per cent of parents said they would have to cut back on their children’s activities such as grassroots sports because they can no longer afford the fuel costs and fees. 

The study showed that:

  • 70% of parents may have to cut back on driving their kids to sports clubs or hobbies
  • Young parents are most affected, with 90% considering cutting back. 
  • Regionally Scotland showed the highest impact, with Edinburgh showing 86% cutting back, Glasgow close behind at 83%. 
  • Birmingham was also hugely affected with 81%, Newcastle 80%, Leeds 73%, London 76%, Nottingham 76% and Manchester 65%. 

One such parent is Buckinghamshire-based Beth Jones, a mum-of-three, whose son Charlie played football for Grendon Rangers. Beth has been forced to cancel Charlie’s training sessions due to the extra petrol she would need to use. 

“The high price of fuel has affected everything, especially as we live in a rural area. A couple of weeks ago, I didn’t have the money to put fuel in my car, but luckily another parent offered a lift to my son.

I now have to think about what fuel I need and make a call. Do I have enough to get to work and football? My fuel is rarely out of the red zone as I just don’t have the money to go and fill it up. My money is now focused on bills and food. 

Beth Jones, a mum-of-three,

“I want to give opportunities to my kids, especially with sports, as it helps to keep them fit and healthy. Since joining the Grendon Rangers FC team, Charlie’s school work has improved as he’s happy he is part of the team,” said Jones.

She continued: “The expenses can be a lot though; luckily ChooseMyCar.com has sponsored the kit so we didn’t have to buy that, plus the club has paid the training fees this season.  Without this, I don’t think I would have been able to pay for my son to do football.”

“I work two jobs, and my partner works three jobs, but it still doesn’t feel like enough right now to live. When is it ever going to stop?”

Founder of ChooseMyCar.com, Nick Zapolski, said that the research is heartbreaking:

“It is clear that the spiralling costs of living are forcing people to choose between running their car and eating – it’s really a case of Drive or Survive. It’s terrible to see the impact this is having on everyday people.

“Staying active and playing sports is so important to both the physical and mental health of many young people. It’s really devastating to discover that so many people – nearly all those who were asked – will not be able to carry on doing these activities.”

ChooseMyCar.com are also looking for more sponsorship opportunities and clubs in need of new kit should apply at https://choosemycar.com/resources/news/win-a-kit-for-your-grassroots-team

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