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Londoners are resilient, adaptable and will always come together to support their communities.
Londoners are resilient, adaptable and will always come together to support their communities.

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Listen, Focus, Control, Connect - supporting young people during lockdown 2.0

During the first lockdown, Relationship Manager, John Arthur supported coaches, managers and youth leaders who were running Sport England Satellite Clubs to keep teenage participants happy and active. Here, he reflects on what he learned.

We must not under-estimate the physical and mental impact the lockdown through March, April and May had on young people.

However, as we saw so powerfully in the We Are Not Spectators campaign, Londoners are resilient, adaptable and will always come together to support their communities.

And with £24,000 from Sport England’s Satellite Club programme, London Sport were able to show their support too and help community leaders looking to engage their young audiences.

As we move into a new form of lockdown this November, I wanted to take the time to share what I learned from managing the Satellite Clubs ‘At Home’ fund and, hopefully, give you some ideas for this winter.

Listen to participants

Firstly, I’d strongly recommend checking what your participants want. A number of Satellite Club ‘At Home’ groups found that changing the day, time and even activity helped more people attend.

Everyone is adjusting their schedules in lockdown and some even found that participants didn't want live classes but liked being able to stay in touch with each other through social media.

Therefore, you may wish to run an online session to find out: when works best, what website/channel to use and how participants want to connect (live sessions, video challenges etc).

It’s also worth being aware that you may have to call some participants who don’t have access to reliable internet.

Focus on fun, not fitness

The overwhelming feedback from participants was they enjoyed Satellite Clubs ‘At Home’ activities because they could stay connected and have fun with their friends from the club.

Make sure there is time and space for participants to interact and ensure any activities emphasise fun over fitness – this could help reduce feelings of isolation and anxiety, which we know are serious concerns right now.

Give control to participants

Fortunately, young people are all over technology these days so feel free to give them the opportunity to run the technology and the activities which will work best for that tech.

They’ll probably know a fair amount more about Zoom, Instagram Live and using a PS4 than their parents might do, and it gives them something to do if they’re feeling bored.

This tactic also has the added benefit of taking the pressure off you, or other coaches, and gives you a chance to observe and support more young people.

Stay connected offline too

Finally, it’s worth considering ways to keep connected with your participants offline – as well as online. This may be through equipment libraries which allow participants to borrow equipment to play with at home.

Missions and tasks sent in the post to participants are also a great way of getting them active and out of the house in a covid-safe way.

This November lockdown is going to be extremely tough for all Londoners, but I hope this has given you some ideas on how to support young people over the next four weeks. Best of luck!

To find out more about the support available from London Sport during the new national restrictions and information on funding available to support community groups through the coming weeks and months, visit our covid-19 hub at https://londonsport.org/covid-19/

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London Sport aims to ensure Londoners live happier, healthier lives through sport and physical activity

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London Sport aims to ensure more Londoners live happier, healthier lives through sport and physical activity. Supported by the Mayor of London and Sport England, our target is to get Londoners more physically active.

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