On Thursday 5 November, England went into another lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to help reduce the number of coronavirus cases and to help reduce the spreading of the virus. Although it was not entirely the same as the first lockdown, it was very similar apart from that schools, colleges and universities could remain open. However, again, almost all youth activities had to stop, which meant there was nothing really for the young people to look forward too after school or on a weekend. Despite this, the Sheffield Wednesday Kicks and Inclusion team remained positive, and devised a plan to keep young people involved and engage

d and giving them something to look forward too.

The SWFCCP Kicks team organized a FIFA tournament, across both PlayStation and Xbox consoles, for all young people to enter, regardless of ability – this attracted lots of interests and we even had many young people stream their games live on Twitch.

Ben Winter, SWFCCP Health and Inclusion Manager said, “It’s been brilliant to see our young people stay connected online through FIFA fixtures almost every evening – Monday to Sunday for two weeks. This has been a much-needed adaption of our provision and it has shown in the continued participation. Credit to our staff for having such a positive relationship with our beneficiaries and credit to the young people for showing such reliance in an everchanging challenging period.”

Below: One of the Semi Final results of the SWFCCP FIFA Kicks Tournament on the PlayStation bracket.

 

As way to keep in touch with our participants, the SWFCCP Kicks team organized zoom calls for the young people to come along too, where everyone could come together and have a chat with each other, see how everyone was doing and take part in some workshops. The Kicks team also ran some quiz nights for the young people and had Huddersfield Town Foundation and Wigan Athletic Community Trust come along and take part in these online zoom meetings.

Brad, interim Kicks Manager at Huddersfield Town Foundation said, “The zoom calls SWFC set up to interact with other clubs was great allowing our participants to engage with participants from other CCO’s to see what similarities and difference they have in their communities.”

Below: Zoom Quiz night between SWFCCP and Wigan with participants from both SWFCCP and Wigan Athletic Community Trust.

 

The SWFCCP Kicks team also linked up with Sahira from Mum’s United Sheffield, to support with the running for an online games and internet safety workshop, for young people in the Lansdowne and Sharrow area. The young people really enjoyed this, and some vital and important points were addressed and discussed with and between the young people around internet safety. SWFCCP and Mum’s United also went out in the area to complete some Outreach work, to make sure any young people that were out and about were staying safe, and to remind them about the Kicks sessions that would hopefully be returning in the area as soon as possible.

Below: Lansdowne Zoom call with Mum’s United Sheffield, SWFCCP, South Yorkshire Police and Kicks participants.

 

Although virtually all face-to-face activities had to stop, following the National Youth Agency [NYA] guidance, some activities could go ahead, as long as all guidelines and guidance’s were followed. This meant that the SWFCCP Kicks and Inclusion team organized a Youth Group on an invite only basis, for certain young people that staff felt were more vulnerable and needed that extra support during these difficult times. The youth group was a place where these young people could come together in a safe environment, to talk to staff, other young people and take part in a few safe activities where everyone could socially distance, such as Games Console’s and Pool. It also allowed the young people a place to come along to, to forgot about any troubles or issues they may be facing and receive support around anything they may need support with, helping and supporting their mental health.

Paul, the Kicks Coordinator for SWFCCP said, “From seeing how the first lockdown affected vulnerable young people, and then seeing the improvement these young people made when youth activities could resume, the last thing we wanted was for the second lockdown to have a major effect on their mental health and take them back to square one. We worked extremely hard to create a safe and COVID secure environment for several of our young people that we had built a very strong relationship with, to give them an environment where they could come along too and take their mind off everything for a couple hours a week, and something for them to look forward too.”

 

One of the differences between the first lockdown and the second lockdown was that schools, colleges and universities could remain open. Because of this, the SWFCCP Kicks and Inclusion team supported both in the Sheffield Wednesday Education Centre and at Chaucer High School, working with some of the most vulnerable and hard to reach young people during these times. Many of these young people that built a positive relationship with the SWFCCP Kicks staff engaged with the FIFA tournament over lockdown and declared their interest in attending Kicks sessions in the new year, when activities start getting back up and running.

Paul said, “It’s great that even during the lockdown we are able to build strong relationships up with young people and make a difference in their lives. It’s also great to see these young people getting involved in activities we have put on other lockdown, and I am sure that many will start to attend face to face kicks sessions when back up and running.”

Below: A live stream fixture between two young people attending the Alternate Provision at SWFCCP Education Hub for the Kicks tournament.