Youth sports clubs – there’s much more than boredom at stake in lockdown

Across the county, and indeed the globe, kids’ clubs and groups are affected by coronavirus. The restrictions prevent meetings, group activities, and sports. As part of our new series of articles looking at the amazing work groups are doing around Sussex, we talk to one football club in Sussex that’s working hard to try and fix the problem.

Most of us will be affected financially by the coronavirus outbreak and we know that sadly, despite the rescue packages offered by the Government, some businesses won’t even weather the storm. Travel companies have been badly affected as have pubs, hotels, and the beauty industry, to name but a few.

But it’s not just the obvious who are overwhelmed here.

Our children are also impacted, and not necessarily in the most obvious way. As the ‘Easter holidays’ begin and our children are spending a very different (extended) break safe at home, they’ll undoubtedly be looking forward to getting back to their normal routines and activities, even if they think being out of school is a wheeze!

But can we assume that those opportunities will still be there waiting when lockdown is lifted?


It’s not just schools that have had to close. Clubs for kids across the county are struggling to keep the coffers full enough to pay stuff like ground rents, overheads and so on. One prime example is Shoreham FC, with its historical, community-led youth club at the heart of its activities.

Club chairman Stuart Slaney makes it clear. “Without the usual income from training and social gatherings, if we can’t raise funds to cover the rent, utilities, insurance and FA bills then we may not survive the crisis.”

With its history spanning 128 years at the heart of its local community, the club boasts over 16 teams, and an academy full of promising youth players. Closure would affect a great many players, parents, and volunteers who would ordinarily now be looking forward to or be getting involved in the planning of the annual youth tournament.


The club – like clubs up and down the country – is no stranger to fundraising. In recent years it’s raised over £8,000 for local charities, including the Rockinghorse Appeal children’s charity, and the Shoreham Air Disaster Appeal. The club also a regular and passionate supporter of Crohns and Colitis UK.

The committee is now having to be more realistic, simply aiming to raise sufficient funds to keep the club running. And while they are unable to hold physical events, they have set up a Justgiving link for £1,500 to cover outgoings during the closure.


Currently fundraising for Shoreham FC has reached the half-way point, with supporters of the club digging deep to help secure its future. Provided that the club reopens when social distancing guidelines are lifted, the youth tournament will be rescheduled for later in the year.

But it’s just the start, and with Mr Johnson still in hospital, and decision at the top increasingly hard to make, it seems like lockdown will continue for some time to come. Clubs like this are going to need all the help they can get if they’re to survive.

If you have enjoyed matches at the club or have a child hoping to return to their team when life returns to normal, you can donate to the appeal here