Written by Tom Hall, Physical Activity Specialist for children and young people.
Talking to so many people and organisations over the last few months, it has been inspiring to hear how organisations and communities have responded to the Covid-19 crisis and rallied to support those in need of extra support.
We have seen many examples of organisations quickly coming together to find practical solutions to offer a little support to those that need it most. This may be a hot meal or a space and place to re-connect with the local community, family and friends.
Just one example of this was Holiday Kitchen, which offered residents in Gloucester the chance to meet up, have a free lunch and a chat and to pick up craft and activity packs throughout the summer holidays.
At the start of the summer, it became clear that there was a likely shortage of summer holiday support for young people across Gloucestershire. This is nothing new – listening to colleagues who work with vulnerable young people across the region, the summer holidays are always a pinch-point. However, with a lack of government clarity on the provision of out of school care, many organisations had a limited or no summer holiday offer and there was a real concern that supply simply would not meet demand.
Quick local response
Gloucestershire County Council formed a ‘Out of school task and finish’ group for vulnerable children and young people to support them when they needed it most. We were invited to join this group and we extended the invitation to local charity, Play Gloucestershire, to ensure there was input from an organisation that works extensively in our local communities. This group provided a great opportunity to put the spotlight onto the hugely valuable work that organisations like Play Gloucestershire – and many others locally - do in some of our more deprived communities.
Play Gloucestershire deliver award winning ‘Play Nurture’ - using play work for the therapeutic benefit of children who are experiencing challenge, trauma, or crisis. Staff from Play Gloucestershire were able to highlight that annually they usually support over 1000 vulnerable children and families in Gloucestershire community settings. With staff on furlogh as a result of Covid-19, Play Gloucestershire were uncertain they could provide the support they knew was needed by many young people over the summer.
By working in partnership it was highlighted to Gloucestershire County Council that the delivery of Play Gloucestershire's work needed to be funded and quickly. The county council allocated funding to Play Gloucestershire to deliver a summer intervention.
As a result of this, 90 young people from across the county received free outdoor play days in a safe and nurturing space throughout the summer holidays allowing them to thrive physically, emotionally, and socially through active and creative outdoor play.
Following on from the summer collaboration, Gloucestershire County Council have asked us and partners such as Play Gloucestershire to support them to look at how to create sustainable interventions to protect our more vulnerable young people in every holiday period.
We work in partnership with many organisations across Gloucestershire and we welcome opportunities to keep doing so.
Get in touch
If you would like to find out more about how we work in partnership or to support the delivery of our work for children and young people, contact Tom Hall, Physical Activity Specialist for children and young people.