Best Use of Thought Leadership
Covid-19 placed the public leisure sector under unprecedented financial pressure. It was an issue that if left unchecked ran the risk of significant market failure including the loss of 8.9 million participants and loss of £910 million of social and economic value. While Sport England were aware of this challenge, others were not. It was an issue that was struggling to gain the attention of Central Government.
Grant Thornton worked closely with Sport England to develop an insight report that would communicate the challenge and the potential solution in a compelling and evidence-based way.
This data-led report underlined the scale of issue alongside its potential ramifications. It modelled the potential risk of failure. It demonstrated that the financial liability was owned by local authorities and that the burden of any market collapse would ultimately fall back to the Exchequer. It highlighted the reputational risk to government if the public leisure sector failed in parallel with the population being encouraged around the importance of exercise in relation to the pandemic.
The report led directly to the creation of a £100 million National Leisure Recovery Fund. A fund established by DCMS and administered by Sport England based on the case and the framework and principles for the solution that were articulated within the insight report. This £100 million fund supported 268 Local Authorities and helped to ensure that over 1,000 public sector leisure facilities were able to reopen.
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