Skip to main content

The leading bodies for the physical activity sector have written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak to request urgent additional measures to be put in place to provide financial support for the estimated 60,000 workers in the sector who are self-employed.

Tara Dillon, Huw Edwards and Cate Atwater, the heads of the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA), ukactive, and Community Leisure UK, along with Clive Ormerod, CEO of Les Mills International, have reminded the Chancellor of the importance of the physical activity workforce in helping the population to stay active throughout the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.

The letter highlights key findings from a survey of the UK sport and physical activity workforce, undertaken in the last few days, which underline the scale of the problem the sector is facing:


  • 65% of respondents are self-employed
  • 95% have already experienced financial losses, averaging £7,800
  • 63% have no financial reserves to fall back on
  • 75% stated that their insurance does not cover for loss of earnings


Today’s letter to the Chancellor reads: “Our workforce is made up of qualified, experienced and dedicated professionals, many of whom have, through no fault of their own, seen a near-total collapse in their earnings as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

“While digital platforms provide a possible solution for some to earn an income – and many of our members are actively exploring the options for providing online services to their customers – this is not realistically going to fill the income gap created by the closure of all of the physical activity facilities they usually teach or instruct from.

“Many of these workers are also parents, carers or partners of other key workers, and they are a vital part of our broader healthcare ecosystem. It is essential that we support them in the same way as employees, so that they are in a position to keep the country fit and healthy during this crisis and beyond.”

The sector bodies have urged the Chancellor to show parity with PAYE employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme by contributing 80% of average monthly earnings, based on the past three months, or up to £2,500 per month, whichever figure is the lower.

CIMSPA, ukactive and Community Leisure UK are working with Sport England, Public Health England and DCMS to ensure the sector is supported and armed with the latest guidance and recommendations during the COVID-19 crisis.

To read the full letter, click here.