The Commission is fearful that future funding worth an average of nearly £250,000 over each of the past three years could be axed as part of Education, Sport & Culture’s efforts to restrain expenditure – a move which sports officials said yesterday would be ‘pathetic’ and ‘deeply troubling’.
Sara Woolland, who runs the schools programme for tennis and padel, said that without the Sports Commission the programme would have to finish at the end of this term.
‘The picture is so much bigger than just the sport.
‘It’s something like 0.73% of the States’ annual budget, but what would its loss be in terms of GP referrals and mental health issues and eating disorders, not just in year one but rolling on and on?’ she said.
‘It’s a world-leading commission. Are they just going to stop? I just want to see kids being active. I don’t care if it’s not my sport.’
Her feelings were reiterated by boxing development officer Mandy Hobart and Guernsey Table Tennis Association president Derek Webb.
‘ESC needs to realise this is money well spent,’ said Mrs Hobart.
‘It is great for children and adults both mentally and physically. Losing it would have a massive impact on the island.
‘It’s not just about boxing but sport in general. It’s so important for the mind and health.’
‘I just want to praise the Sports Commission,’ said Mr Webb.
‘It will be a big loss to the island if they lose this funding.’
The commission has received about £730,000 over the past three years to deliver the States’ strategy, known as Active8, but has been unable to obtain assurances about the future of this funding ahead of a crunch meeting with ESC on 17 May.
ESC president Andrea Dudley-Owen said her committee valued the work of the Sports Commission and was looking forward to the meeting.
‘The Committee has three large areas of its mandate and considers the sport element a priority,’ she said.
‘The funding allocated to the commission by the States to help deliver Active8 is due to come to an end, so we are examining our options while being conscious of both Government Work Plan process for funding initiatives and the challenging financial position the States is in.
‘We don’t intend to play out any discussions with a valued partner via the media.’