As the government escalates its Covid-19 strategy and social distancing measures are set to change ‘normal life’ as we know it, it’s time for us to think differently in these extraordinary times. With lockdown measures across the world and the Prime Minister ordering general lockdown for Britain days ago, The Change Foundation faces the challenge of ensuring our services remain available for some of the most vulnerable young people in our communities.
No doubt sport for social change organisations across the world are recalculating daily, about the impact of session cancellations, delayed delivery of projects and being unable to provide that ‘boundary work’ of mentoring and situational conversation face to face. Our usual approach of using the face to face contact time created through sport has been turned on its head and has left sports people thinking, what now?
The Change Foundation is no different except we are responding quickly after consulting with our young people and our team. So, what do you do when you are teaching employability skills through sport, social media safety through netball, social integration through cricket, positive mental health through dance and fitness and a pandemic forces emergency quarantine? You do exactly what you would when trying to play rounders in your tiny garden, with no bat, odd numbers and it’s raining. You get creative, adapt and change the rules.
The Change Foundation is committed to providing continued mentoring, transferable skills development and personal and professional development opportunities through sport and physical activity, even when facing the challenge of social isolation. In a short space of time we have adapted our sport delivery methodologies and are entering new territory of Esports and online physical activity.
Virtual learning and E-mentoring are replacing face to face focus groups and social change workshops. Young people’s travel expenses are being replaced with Wi-Fi and broadband costs. Weekly sports are being replaced with Esports tournaments, home fitness tasks, YouTube sessions and online dance classes. As we introduce these elements into our curriculums, what hasn’t been replaced is building trust with young people, being there for them when they need us and providing them with opportunities, they never thought they could have.
The Change Foundation CEO, Andy Sellins says:
“For nearly 40 years we have targeted social issues deemed too difficult to change, proving time and time again that sport really can change lives. We don’t intend to stop now. We intend to do what we tell our young people to do – don’t dwell on problems, find a solution.”
As we face the new reality of increased economic and health pressures, it is even more important for charities to use our skills and resources in dynamic ways, working closely with each other, local community groups, local councils, schools and families to ensure we continue to help vulnerable young people when they need us the most.
If you would like to know more about our approach or have questions about how the current situation affects your relationship with us, please contact Director of Design and Impact, Navjeet Sira.