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Youth Sport Participation Bounces Back to Pre-Pandemic Levels

Child swimming underwater wearing goggles
Child swimming underwater wearing goggles
Child swimming underwater wearing goggles

As the UK leisure industry reopens, sports course management software provider, CoursePro reports a sharp increase in the number of children returning to sports.

In the period between 12th and 30th April 2021, Fitronics owned CoursePro saw over 229,000 children return to swimming pools, gymnastics floors, and playing fields in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, matching the pre-pandemic levels of 2019.

The two-week period encompassing the reopening of leisure in England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, saw over 153,000 sessions delivered.

As facilities move to create a safer environment for all, Ross Harris, National Fitness Development Manager at Nuffield Health says “having delivered 10,000 swimming lessons to more than 11,000 children during the reopening phase, the cleanliness of our facilities and the safety of the children participating in our sessions has always been our priority.”

Nuffield Health’s Learn to Swim programme has enabled many children to participate in a much-needed and essential life skill.

Harris continues “Working with UKActive and Swim England on the framework for reopening gyms and swimming pools has informed our strategy to introduce robust plans to provide a safe environment and experience for our members.

Introducing safety measures such as managing pool capacities via bookings and having instructors teach swimming lessons from poolside, are just a few examples of how we have adapted to increase safety.”

Meanwhile, independent gymnastics academy, Gymtastic, welcomed back 450 participants to their sites in Broxburn and Penicuik, Scotland.  Former Scottish National Men’s Artistic Gymnastics Champion, Neil Robertson comments, “After another long closure, we were extremely excited to welcome our members back. It was fantastic to see the majority of them return, with only a handful of non-returners.

CoursePro, Regional Account Manager, Tom Doodson adds “This immediate bounce-back is testament to the hard work that operators have put in both pre and post-lockdown to create covid-secure environments so that parents and their children can feel safe when returning to sporting activities.”

As children grow and develop into adults, sport plays a significant role in promoting healthy lifestyles, and whilst leisure activities have been restricted over the past 12-months, this data shows a turning point in the pandemic and a positive outlook for the leisure industry as we move forward.