My first post on here in about 12 years, I imagine.
This is a topic close to my heart. I'll leave aside the state of the pro clubs in London and also the open age community game and just focus on juniors.
I wasn't involved back in the 2006-2012 heyday but have been coaching primary/junior age groups at the Eastern Rhinos for a couple of years now. Others on here have been around longer, I think. Over my short time horizon, the number of clubs/kids involved has seemed fairly stable in the aggregate but growth/decline, sometimes spectacular, has seemed to occur at particular clubs as cohorts ebb and flow and key volunteers arrive and leave.
It has been a real shame that Covid has stopped what would have been a great season for the u16s with around 10 London League clubs active this year. Upthread someone mentioned that this age group could be lost to the game - going from playing with 15/16yo peers to open age with a lost season in between will be incredibly tough. Hopefully, they can run an u17s comp for this cohort in 2021.
There is a good DO (or similar) for London, btw, just not a team of them.
Finally, for now, if anyone on this board is in or around North Essex or Suffolk and wants to get involved in a community club, get in touch with me. If you have kids who want to take up the game, even better.