“None of us knew what to expect from lockdown – however, I would never have guessed such a strong friendship could grow out of a virtual meeting through Girls Win with a kindred spirit. Meeting up face to face for the first time with Yvonne* & her mother was a special day.” – Quote from a parent.
During COVID-19 social distancing, the Girls Win programme has moved all activities, sessions and mentoring to online platforms such as Zoom and WhatsApp. Throughout the weeks, the coach mentors have hosted Zooms and merged Girls Win clubs from different areas of London. This gave young people, who normally live too far away from each other, the chance to meet, connect and share with each other online. This led to a very special friendship developing between a young woman from Girls Win in Sutton and another young woman from the Girls Win Wandsworth hub…
Fiona* and Yvonne* first met each other on a Girls Win Zumba Zoom session and began chatting to each other through the Girls Win WhatsApp group. Over the weeks they got to know each other through messaging and video calling online. The two young women realised that they have a lot in common, enjoy each other’s company and that they live in the same area. Their parents reached out to the Girls Win coach mentors and asked to be put in touch so that they could support their daughters’ growing friendship.
As social distancing measures were relaxed, the two young women and their families made plans to meet face to face. Fiona and Yvonne spent a wonderful day together in their local park where they got to know each other even better and bond over some hot drinks. Their mums also had a great time chatting together and have formed a friendship too! The young women shared their happy news to the Girls Win group chat, sending a picture of them together and commenting that it was ‘the best day ever!’.
Since their meet up, Yvonne and Fiona’s friendship has continued to grow through regular calls, texts and video calls with their wider friendship groups. Yvonne has introduced Fiona to some of the clubs she attends like ‘Slide Dance’ and ‘Yoga’, which they now both attend every week through Zoom sessions. Fiona said: ‘I really like yoga and I find it really relaxing. I got to meet new people on the Slide Dance Zoom and it was really nice.’ The two young women have also introduced each other to their friendship groups and are now getting to connect with even more friendly faces!
The Girls Win coach mentors met up with Yvette and Fiona for a virtual tea party to show off their coolest mugs and catch up about how their friendship is developing. They shared about how excited they are to have so much in common. Fiona also mentioned how happy she was to ‘finally find a friend that’s heard of all the things I like’.
When asked what being a good friend means to them, this is what the young women had to say:
‘Being a good friend is about always being there for each other, knowing you can trust each other and being supportive, respectful and caring for other people. You can have as many friends as you like. Everybody is different and that’s OK.’
They also shared what they admired most about their new friend:
‘Yvonne is always there for me when I need her, she is so kind.’
‘Fiona is very caring and supportive.’
Yvonne and Fiona have lots of fun activities planned together as lockdown eases. They said that they would like to visit each other’s houses every week, bake cakes for each other, meet up for tea/coffee and their dream would be to go to an Ariana Grande concert together. They are both huge fans of Ariana Grande and describe the song ‘Put Your Hearts Up’ by Ariana Grande as ‘our friendship song’.
‘Let me see you put your hearts up, yeah
If we give a little love
Maybe we can change the world’ (excerpt from ‘Put Your Hearts Up’ by Ariana Grande)
*names changed for privacy
If you would like to know more information about our Girls Win programme, contact: Maddy Ford