At The Harlequins Foundation, we recognize that children and young people have been particularly badly affected by the restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
In July, the Youth Sport Trust released a comprehensive evidence paper highlighting that loneliness among primary school pupils had increased by 50%, whilst almost three quarters of children and young people have struggled to maintain friendships during lockdown.
Earlier this summer, in an effort to support local children and young people, we began planning for ‘Summer Sports Week’ with local schools in Hounslow & Richmond.
Paying close attention to government advice and in line with national plans for a return to school in September, the team identified an opportunity to combine the METTLE programme, which helps young people explore key mental resilience tools, with the Skills Builder toolkit, which promotes the development of a core set of essential skills, to provide free-to-access sports and activity sessions for local young people.
Throughout the summer holidays, our dedicated coaching team visited the following schools; Richmond-upon-Thames School, Reach Academy, Springwest Academy, and Kingsley Academy.
Joined by well over 200 young people, sessions ranged from fitness & yoga with our Wellbeing team, to ‘Cardio-Cricket’, volleyball and noodle-TAG, with our coaches even managing to provide online sessions on the odd occasion when the weather did take a turn for the worse.
By combining both our METTLE programme and Skills Builder toolkit, the Summer Sport Week had been designed to support the development young people’s essential skills such as; Aiming High, Teamwork, Staying Positive and Communication skills.
Following an extended period of isolation, uncertainty and inactivity, the sessions offered young people the opportunity to reengage in sports, reconnect with their friends and have fun in a safe and welcoming environment.
Looking ahead to the new school term, we are keen to support more schools and their pupils to develop essential skills through sports and physical activity. You can find out more about the programmes we offer here.
Check out our gallery of highlights from the Summer Sport week programme below!