But with light at the end of the tunnel, small business owners are keener than ever to back community clubs through GiveToLocal.
At the same time, we’re just as determined to help get local firms back on their feet and thriving again.
One of our founding aims is to proactively expand the number of passionate independent business owners that value and support grassroots sports in their community.
Becoming a part of the wider GiveToLocal family can provide both businesses and clubs with an effective support network as we look forward to bouncing back from the global pandemic.
Kelly Smith, of Studio K Hairdressing, is an example of a community-focused business owner already supporting her local club despite struggling during the pandemic.
“It’s a great feeling supporting a club like The City of Hereford Boxing Academy and helping to open doors for other sports in our community,” she said.
“Sports centres and clubs haven’t got a lot of support right now. So, I think it’s up to local businesses that can afford it to help support these clubs and keep them going for generations to come.
“It’s obviously been extremely difficult for me as a hairdresser in the pandemic but I’m one of the lucky ones that’s received enough support to get me through.
“Lots of other businesses and sports clubs haven’t been as lucky and we need to support them as much as we can.”
Ben Pumford, of Owl Financial, has provided insurance to his local American football club, Merseyside Nighthawks, for two years and now he wants to give something back.
“Sport has a massive impact on the development of our kids and it’s important to protect that,” he said.
“Without the support from local businesses we wouldn’t have sports clubs to give the next generation of kids coming through a chance.”
Natasha Mina, of Hotpod Yoga Leicester and The Almaz Project, is another business owner supporting her local club as they aim to get back on their feet with GiveToLocal.
As a Female Inspiration Award winner, Natasha felt compelled to support Leicester Riders Foundation basketball after seeing their work getting girls into basketball.
“It was natural for me to support female participation in sport and help them make a comeback,” she said.
“Grassroots clubs are massively integral to the growth and progression of mental and physical health of young people.
“So, by supporting clubs, sponsors really are helping fuel positive social impact in the community.
“Clubs need support and sponsorship now more than ever and I want to do all I can to keep them alive.”
GiveToLocal CEO, Neil Gardiner, added: “We recognise the synergy between community sports clubs and local businesses and have always sought to support both.
“We are called GiveToLocal as the focus we have is reciprocity, we want to support local businesses and the local economy while also having a direct impact at the heart of clubs, by connecting local people and giving them an easy means to support each other.
“A key message from us right now, as we look towards the end of the latest lockdown, is that GiveToLocal cares and we are here to help.”