January 28, 2023

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More and more parents can't pay sports federation membership

More and more parents can’t pay sports federation membership

Monique Max, director of the Youth Fund for Sports and Culture, sees a significant increase in the number of requests for support. In April and May, the Youth Fund helped 5,500 children, in September this number increased to 10,300. The increase is especially noticeable among people with lower middle incomes. The Youth Trust claims to be active in about 237 out of 345 municipalities. In other municipalities, parents can contact Stichting Leergeld or the municipality.

More than 15 percent of young members

Sports clubs are of the opinion that parents canceled their children’s registration because they could not pay the contribution. Michael Timmers is the head of youth department at VV de Markiezaten at Bergen op Zoom, a club that currently has around 300 young members. “We typically expect about 5 percent of parents not to be able to pay the contribution, in that season we expect it to be around 15 percent.” the reasons? Inflation and rising energy costs.

VV de Markiezaten also sees that more young members have canceled their subscription. “When we ask why, in many cases we hear that money plays a role. There is a group of parents who have been with Stichting Leergeld for years or who have made individual agreements with the association about payments. A growing group of parents who are not used to being in this situation.”

Shame

Timmers describes it as very unfortunate that parents from this group feel compelled to de-register their children, because they don’t know they can get help. It is also the most important group for Maks. “These people run into problems in a short time. They’ve never had to apply for support before. They don’t know it’s possible and are often ashamed.”

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Monique Max, for example, heard about a woman who had three children in the same club. “She couldn’t afford the membership anymore, so she signed all three kids. She asked her kids to tell their friends they didn’t like it anymore.”

Max says he is very worried about the children this happens to. ā€œSports are important at this point in children’s lives. The rest of the team continues, and because they have had to opt out, they are socially excluded.

in conversation

VV de Markiezaten will speak with parents who do not pay the contribution. “We ask what’s behind it. If there are financial reasons, we inform them of all kinds of schemes available. We show them the way, provide information and put the parents in touch with the right people at Stichting Leergeld, because that is where our municipality is by agreement.”

The Youth Fund is also actively trying to raise awareness of support schemes. We recently launched a campaign: Choose a club. Parents can sign up for support on this site themselves. We then connect them with a teacher, youth worker, debt counselor, or someone from the neighborhood team, who submits the application with a parent. After approval, the Youth Fund pays the contribution directly to the sports club.