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26 Mar 2020

Active Black Country - Covid 19 Local Support

Letter from Ian Carey, Active Black Country Director

I hope you, your family and all those that you work, learn and play alongside are keeping well during these unprecedented and extremely challenging times.

The impact of Covid-19 and the necessary but unfortunate restrictions on our daily lives will have a significant impact upon our sector. We have outlined in further detail below the initial support we are providing alongside our Local Authority partners – who will face huge challenges not only in the short term through re-deployment of their staff, but longer term when normal working patterns resume.

We are acutely aware local leisure operators and small businesses across the sector have had to close or significantly scale back operations; whilst at the same time incurring ongoing operating costs.

In addition, Black Country community organisations and clubs, that provide an essential role in communities have had to curtail fixtures and events, thus losing vital income. Only by working together, building understanding of the impact across the different parts of our sector will we be able to mitigate the impact and progress with our shared work in the future.

The Prime Minister in his daily address has been prioritising being active either at home or safely outside, which alongside the guidance re unnecessary movement is an extremely powerful combination. If there is any light at the end of the tunnel, it is the possibility that the value people place on an active lifestyle and how that contributes to mental and physical wellbeing will never have been higher, and activity habits potentially formed during this period may result in an increased demand for services in the future.

I went out with my children yesterday evening and have genuinely never seen as many people walking, running, cycling – the increase was clearly evident but also a sense of the community united in a common purpose.

To support the local sector, we are taking the following measures in the short term and will be adding to this on an on-going basis over the coming weeks;

Gathering intelligence into the impact on the sector locally – Ian Carey/Mike Salmon
We are contacting the list of employers and community organisations within the Black Country to understand the challenges they currently face. This information will be consolidated and fed into Sport England and Government via a number of channels.

Education Partners & Key Worker Provision – Tim Aldred
We are working with a number of Headteachers and Education Networks to support provision for key workers and vulnerable children, key actions include:
- Identifying the schools with a significant number of pupils attending so we can target those areas in the greatest need and support.
- Incorporating Physical Activity into the programme of activities and PE Curriculum support and ideas to enhance planned provision.
- Working with School Games Organisers to encourage an offer of support for those children that are at home to keep them active – a dedicated webpage will    be up and running by next week to support this.

The #StayInWorkOut campaign – Jo Booker
- Active Black Country is supporting the ‘Join the Movement’ campaign initiated by Sport England.
- The campaign aims to inspire and inform the public about the fun, and creative ways they can keep moving.
- We have developed a dedicated webpage sharing ideas and support from external sources for families to keep moving (https://www.activeblackcountry.co.uk/get-active/coronavirus-keeping-active-at-home/). This is being updated on a daily basis.
- The campaign will feature a call for people to share their experiences with us via social media to inspire others.

Support to our Community and Voluntary sector organisations – Dan Allen
- We will be facilitating a programme of on line training and CPD opportunities for clubs, coaches and volunteers – details of which will be released next week.
- As result of Sport England’s flexibility, we have been able to provide immediate assurance to local clubs and organisations we have commissioned within our Communities theme.

If there is anything in the meantime that people would like help with or want to discuss then please get in contact with myself.

Active Black Country are willing and able to assist the sector in any way we can at this most difficult of times. Whether it’s helping residents with ideas on how to be active in the home, signposting clubs and organisations to appropriate relief packages or something much more bespoke, please get in touch and start a dialogue with us so we can make best use of the resources that we have and so when we come out of this unprecedented situation, we’ll all be in the best possible position to all get back to doing what we do best.

Regards
Ian and the Active Black Country Team

ian_carey@blackcountryconsortium.co.uk
07507 060970

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