Summer activities for children and young people during lockdown.Date posted: 16th October 2020
Involving children and young people
Owing to the restrictions placed on us all by lockdown many Voluntary, Community, Faith and Social Enterprise (VCFSE) sector organisations which would usually offer summer activities to children and young people have had to think a little differently about their summer activity programmes. Happily, VCFSE organisations in Lancashire and South Cumbria have been able to offer a variety of creative and exciting summer activities to keep children and young people engaged whilst also keeping them safe.
National Citizen Service
John Hartley, National Citizen Service Programme Manager at Fleetwood Town Community Trust explained that they are part way through an initiative which involves young people aged 16-17 developing life skills and planning, and delivering research-based social action projects across Fleetwood. The participants attend a five day residential in Wales, followed by a five day residential at the University of Cumbria.
"The final phase of the NCS programme involves the groups designing and delivering a project that has an impact on the local community, raising awareness and money for a charity that participants are passionate about. This project is student-led and supported by NCS staff throughout."
Child Action North West
Huma Sheikh, Young Carers Coordinator at Child Action North West (CANW) oversees the Blackburn with Darwen Young Carers Service. She explained that the Young Carer's Service has been very busy over the summer period providing lots of virtual support to Young Carers, and in June the Young Carers Facebook page celebrated achieving an Investing in Children Membership Award Facebook page. In addition to this, the group was able to influence important government guidelines around Covid-19 for young carers, young adult carers and those professionals who may have come into contact with young people with a caring role over the past few months.
Spring North, a VCFSE organisation based in Blackburn with Darwen, has been running the Department for Education funded Holiday Activity Fund over the summer holidays. Angela Allen, Chief Executive, explained that Spring North have been providing a mix of digital and face-to-face activities for young people as well as a healthy meal at each session. The aim of the programme is to have a positive impact on the lives of children, young people, families and the communities, in which they live whilst challenging inequality and disadvantage, helping them to meet their full potential.
SPAR Lancashire School Games
Dominic Holroyd, Children and Young People Development Officer, described the SPAR Lancashire School Games, a programme funded by Sport England and the Youth Sport Trust, and delivered by Active Lancashire, Lancashire School Games Organisers and SPAR to ensure young people in Lancashire have the opportunity to participate in activities to become and remain active, as well as representing their school or district at local events. Since lockdown began in March, Active Lancashire have created a 10-week programme of SPAR Lancashire School Games Stay at Home Resources for primary schools and teenagers to allow them to achieve sixty active minutes, have fun through play, learn new fundamental movement skills and participate in weekly challenges. The programme ran from April to July, and included a virtual county festival on the 30th June to replace the live event that was due to be delivered at Blackpool Stanley Park.
In addition to this Ronan McMahon, Community Youth Engagement Officer, said that Active Lancashire has been supporting young people in the community through ‘Satellite Clubs’. Despite the difficulties, Active Lancashire has continued to connect and support young people using a variety of effective methods and online platform. Examples from summer include: ‘All Good In Da Hood’ events in Preston, led by Preston United Youth Development; two events in August to enable young people to connect with others, be active, express their thoughts and feelings around lockdown and receive free food and Preston United Vlogging Project, a four week video diary project to creating space for young people to express their feelings and thoughts about life in lockdown whilst giving back a sense of daily purpose to fill the void of school or college, aligned with Active Lancashire’s #ALittleBitMoreAtHome campaign.
IMO Charity Inspire Me Youth Clubs
Through the Inspire Me programme in Blackburn, IMO support young people in overcoming challenges and fulfilling their potential. IMO delivers activities that help raise the critical thinking, abilities, ambitions, self-confidence and aspirations of young people so that they can break out from the disadvantage and deprivation which potentially defines and limits their futures. Through arts, educational outings, team building residentials, sports activities and recreation, the Inspire Me programme enriches and feeds young people's curiosity and determination to succeed - giving them necessary skills in critical thinking and inspiration.
During this period of COVID 19 IMO engaged with young people online, providing support through meaningful activities; here are some of the stories shared by participants.
Young people got creative in Inspire Me baking sessions, bringing families together, giving them time to bond and take part in sessions online. Young people discussed their feelings and experiences of lockdown whilst learning a new skill. This entailed baking.
Baking cakes, making desserts and learning about healthy eating and the benefits helped one young person, who said:
“By taking part in these sessions I have really taken up to making and experimenting different types of foods. This helps me escape and manage my mental wellbeing in a positive way.”
A parent involved in the scheme said:
“My child has been inspired by IMO and has really taken on a new skill. It is such a marvellous way of dealing with the current pandemic and keeping him entertained at home as he misses going out and being with his friends.”
Arts and crafts
IMO provided resource packs to young people from a deprived backgrounds; following government and local authority guidelines about online sessions, providing resources packs young people could still take part in the arts and crafts activities. Although young people could not meet with their friends they were still able to communicate and see each other via the digital platform. They were able to catch up with each other while taking part in the activities, and this helped them keep in touch.
One participant said:
“This is great! I can still be with my friends although I’m locked in."
Whilst another shared:
“I did not know how I would cope with this. By coming on to this programme it has kept me engaged and I have had so much fun.”
Quizzes and games
Rather talking about COVID-19 directly, Inspire Me participants found that fun games and quizzes led to open discussions. This provided opportunity to educate the young people in staying safe, washing their hands, keeping their distance, and other measures. The young people made their own masks and sent out messages to the local community, families and friends about the importance of wearing masks.
A young person involved in this project said:
“I didn’t feel comfortable with the idea of wearing a mask or not meeting with my family and friends. By attending these online sessions with IMO, I got to learn a greater deal of this virus and when I learnt that I could make my own mask, I felt better. Having designed my own mask, it made me look cool when I wore it and I was no longer shy in having to wear a mask outside. I set the trend!”