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Burgess Sports

#WeAreNotSpectators - sport supporting Londoners in lockdown

Finding new, creative ways to engage children with constructive activities

Before Covid-19, Burgess Sport ran after-school programmes, holiday programmes, leadership training and more on-location in Burgess Park.

They provide sporting opportunities and leadership training for young people during the school holidays, as well as education around everything from staying active to healthy eating. Participants range from 5 to 12 years of age, and leaders from 13 to 17, and hundreds of young people have been involved.

From table tennis to football, fencing and exercise sessions, the activities are varies and all designed to help maintain both physical health and a sense of community.

Covid-19 has put group activity sessions on hold, and Burgess Sports have adapted to provide the same support in new ways. They’ve pivoted to online delivery of many of their projects.

“Social skills, personal skills - you can just see the energy levels are off the scale.” 

Vernon Neve-Dunn

Activity has ranged from TikTok dance challenges to creative podcasts and daily fitness sessions, with family activities are also being distributed, from painting to photography to jigsaws to cup-stacking, so that children and their parents have more constructive options to share during lockdown – and prizes are being given to encourage participation. 

Digital activities have even gone as far as group karaoke and rap battles – all chosen by the participants to help them through a difficult time. Meanwhile, five hundred healthy, fresh, cooked meals were prepared each week and distributed to vulnerable families in the community, thanks to a team of bicycle delivery volunteers. – and up to five hundred meals a week to those who need it. 

A Return to Play means that Burgess Sport can help children who are more restricted than most by the lockdown with exactly what they need – programmes in person, in open, safe locations. Starting up again in bubbles, they’re able to provide sporting activities again like boxing and archery, to socially vulnerable groups.