Given Pandemic Restrictions, Majority of Parents Say Their Kids are Feeling Lonely and Isolated (74%), Finding It Hard to Reduce Stress and Anxiety (64%) and Are Showing Signs of Being Less Physically Fit (69%)
Toronto, ON, February 11, 2021 – COVID-19 is jeopardizing the future of accessible sport in Canada, with a majority (52%) of providers of sports programming saying they are concerned (17% very/35% somewhat) about the permanent closure of their organization, according to a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Canadian Tire Jumpstart.
The situation is bleak: three in ten (28%) sports organization are temporarily closed, while another 64% are attempting to run modified programming. Organizations report that their operating budget has been slashed by 49%, on average. One in ten (10%) say they’re already bankrupt, with another 26% facing bankruptcy. And if conditions do not change, many say they’ll be closed in the next six months (18%) or within a year (44%).
As such, most (81%) express concern (38% very concerned/43% somewhat concerned) about their ability to provide programming in 2021, about their ability to provide the same level of service to the communities they serve (84% — 42% very/42% somewhat) and about their ability to obtain financial support from government (74% — 32% very/42% somewhat) given competing priorities.
With the state of sport in Canada so bleak, it’s no wonder that a majority (69%) of parents of children aged 4 to 18 say that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a strong impact on their kids’ participation in sports or recreational play. Likely linked to this, a majority of parents also say that due to the pandemic their kids are feeling isolated and lonely (74%), are finding it hard to reduce stress and anxiety (64%) and are showing signs of being less physically fit (69%).
In fact, those who say their child’s participation in sports has been significantly impacted by COVID-19 are even more likely than those who haven’t been impacted in this way to say their child is feeling lonely (78% vs. 64%), is finding it difficult to reduce stress and anxiety (68% vs. 53%) and that they are showing signs of being less physically fit (74% vs. 56%), demonstrating a clear link between the loss of sport and negative outcomes on mental and physical health.
Given the challenges of the past year, most (87%) parents agree (50% strongly/36% somewhat) that they are very much looking forward to the return of sports and recreational play, rising to 93% among those most impacted by the loss of sport. But these data call into question whether these organizations will still be around and able to provide programming once children are able to return to sport.
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