06 November 2020
My first experience of Youth Work Week has been anything but normal, in the midst of a pandemic and the start of our second national lockdown. But, as we pause face-to-face delivery, I have no doubt that youth organisations will continue to step up, make adaptations and support young people however they can; whether it’s delivering food parcels, creating online sessions or just maintaining a sense of community and connection via a virtual youth club. In a year of such uncertainty, community youth organisations have continued to provide an essential service to young people, offering the physical and mental wellbeing support needed, while overcoming so many unexpected challenges themselves.
During the October half-term, I visited a number of London Youth members who received funding through our partnership with the Jack Petchey Foundation to deliver localised COVID-safe sports activities. As a new member of the London Youth Sports Development team, these visits were particularly exciting as they brought my work to life.
I was able to see first-hand the impact that these programmes have on young people. One of the youth workers at Streatham Youth and Community Trust summed it up perfectly for me, “The half term and summer projects provide our young people a safe space to interact with other young people and take part in various sporting activities.”
I believe in using the power of sport for individual and wider social development. It’s what attracted me to London Youth: the commitment to deliver impactful sport programmes for young people that combine participation opportunities with a chance to develop key life skills.
Sport and physical activity have always been an important part of my life, having participated in different sports from a young age and completing sports young leader training. I know the huge impact these experiences have had on my confidence, social skills, leadership capabilities and mental wellbeing. These skills helped me navigate my life, from moving to a new city, making new friends and starting a new job.
During my visits last week, it struck me that the same is true for so many people. A young coach at BIGKID Foundation started by playing football at the club for three years, before going on to complete 100 hours of volunteering and is now a coach. He told me, “It has helped me with my confidence and how I react to situations. Now when small things happen, I don’t react, when before I would have.”
I spoke to young people who had travelled for over an hour to get to the sessions; they appreciate good youth work and quality sports sessions. For so many young people, their youth club is where they feel most comfortable to try new sports and activities without judgement. Be it American football, dodgeball or trampolining, the experiences offered are tailored and suited to their needs. Getting active together gives so many young people enjoyment and a chance to express themselves, while supporting their overall wellbeing and personal development.
Young people have been hugely impacted by the effects of COVID-19. Now more than ever, we need to offer programmes that promote their physical and mental wellbeing. This is why I’m excited to be working on the Getting Active programme, giving young people opportunities to try something new and hopefully, just like me, discover a lifelong love of sport! I’m looking forward to working with you to ensure young Londoners fulfil their potential and achieve their dreams.
– Jasmin Campbell | Sports Development Support Officer
We’re recruiting for London Youth members to take part in our Getting Active programme. Applications are open until 15th November and full details can be found here.
Youth Work Week 2020 takes place 2 – 8 November 2020 – share your thoughts on social media using #YWW20.