In addition to the exponential growth that the professional game has gone through over the past year, the latest figures from Sport England’s Active People Survey (APS) have shown a dramatic increase in participation at grassroots level.
Compared to this time last year, more than 27,000 more adults are playing squash at least once per week in England which brings the figure up to a current total of 224,000. The 16-34 age category saw the largest participation increase with 40% more players taking up the sport on a regular basis.
England Squash, the sport’s national governing body, were pleased with the figures which eclipsed the organisation’s target for 2015.
“We are delighted with the latest APS findings and to have exceeded our participation target for the year,” said England Squash Chief Executive Keir Worth.
“Today’s figures are a reflection of the outstanding work of the whole squash community, including county associations, volunteers, coaches, clubs and leisure centres in delivering squash nationwide. We are extremely grateful for the continued support of Sport England during what has been a very challenging transitional period for the organisation. Our aspirations remain high and the focus is on building on this success by further improving our engagement with players, the squash workforce and facility providers in driving the sport forward over the next period.”
“The sport faces some significant challenges, but we believe it has an exciting and promising future.”
England Squash Director of Participation, Mark Williams, added: “We remain committed to inspiring thousands more to pick up a racket.
“We have a number of exciting programmes in 2016 including the national launch of an innovative new way for people to play squash and the rollout of a new university programme. Although the number of women playing squash remains stable, our new grassroots initiative aimed at women and girls has launched nationwide across 35 locations and will be a key driver in increasing participation.”
By James Hall