With the start of our first Summer Sport Week just around the corner, we have been reflecting on the impact the Coronavirus pandemic has had on on young people’s mental health, and how our new programme can help make a difference.
In a recent paper, The Youth Sports Trust explained that the restrictions imposed as a result of COVID-19 have had wide ranging implications for young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
Couple this with the impact on both their learning and a reduction in the number of young people now meeting the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines for taking part in sport and physical activity (a drop from 47% to just 19%) we are on the verge of a national catastrophe.
Thanks to the support of The City Bridge Trust and The London Community Response Fund, our Community Response Team have identified the need to get young people active and give them the opportunity to reflect on the wider impact of lockdown.
Working with a range of local schools, we are providing free sports and activity sessions for young people and their friends but, perhaps more importantly, we will couple this with supporting them to explore important mental resilience skills in line with both our METTLE programme and Skills Builder Toolkit.
One week out from the start of the ‘Summer Sport Week’ programme, our Inclusion Manager, Matt Williams, reflects on the importance of sport and the difference it can make to people’s mental and physical wellbeing.
Matt said: “I think we all realise the impact COVID-19 has had on wider society, but what isn’t clear is how long the impact it has had on young people’s physical and mental wellbeing will last.
“That’s why our team will be working tirelessly to support young people to get active and reintegrate with their respective schools, ready for September, and use learning from our flagship mental resilience programme METTLE to support positive mental resilience.
“Sport has an important role in the ongoing recovery from the pandemic.
“Meaningful interaction with their peers is as important to young people’s development as any lesson.
“So, we want to facilitate this the best way we know how, using sport as a vehicle to support young people to develop the essential skills.”
Over the course of the next five weeks we will be working with hundreds of young people to have a positive impact in the local community, but we don’t plan to stop here.
We are extending our offer into the start of the next academic year by offering our METTLE Programme to local schools completely free of charge.
METTLE uses the resources, brand and experience of The Harlequins Foundation to raise awareness, challenge the stigma of mental health whilst developing mental resilience in the young people involved.
If you want to know more about our Summer Sports Week or METTLE please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.