Helping our young people, staff, athletes and partners at all times is at the centre of what the Trust is about. Yet in the current situation, we find ourselves dealing with a situation no one could have expected when thinking about what 2020 had to bring.

In the last few weeks, we have had to innovate and transform our business and the operations and delivery of our programmes. Within three weeks of the lockdown starting, we converted 40% of our programmes into online delivery, by May the figure was up to 54%. Feedback has been positive with young people appreciating the structure the sessions are providing.

We utilised our world class athletes to support Sport England’s #StayInWorkOut initiative by creating 20+ fitness videos and we mobilised out supporter base to join in the 2.6 challenge to raise over £10,000 in order to help us stay financially buoyant at this time.   

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a dynamic situation which has brought up many questions and we wanted to share our thoughts on the actions we are taking at the Trust to look after our teams, the young people we work with, our athletes and the wider community.

 

Supporting Our People

Most of the team at Dame Kelly Holmes Trust work remotely already, but the social distancing rules meant that the few people who worked at our Head Office in Bath had to make the change to working from home full time as well. All face to face meetings had to be cancelled so we’ve made more use – like many others – of technology such as Zoom and Slack and made more of an effort to keep in touch with each other, like on our daily virtual cuppa at 10.30 each day and our weekly quiz session on a Friday! With many people in the team also home-schooling children or sharing working space with partners, we’ve all had to make adjustments in our working schedules and understand that at the current time, attending a Joe Wicks PE session might take precedence to answering an email.

 

Supporting Our Young People

The Trust utilise ex world class athletes to deliver transformational programmes to young people aged 11-25 who are facing disadvantage. At any one time, we have approximately 1,000 young people attending programmes. Pre Covid-19 these sessions were all delivered in person in conjunction with partner organisations around the United Kingdom. Once it was clear this was no longer an option, we looked at ways to move our delivery online, ensuring we supported as many of our young people as possible. Again, we looked at technology available and the content and structure of the sessions we were able to deliver. Within two weeks of the lockdown, we started delivering shorter sessions more often to our groups:

  • We have set up weekly Zoom calls to keep in touch with the groups and provide an outlet for group discussions
  • Young people have regular one to one sessions with athletes
  • We've created private Facebook groups to share videos and set group goals and targets for the week
  • Our athletes have created short fitness videos that can be shared across groups to help maintain fitness levels

At the start of May, we were delivering 54% of our programmes remotely across community and school settings.   We have been able to offer a remote version of our programmes to all delivery partners but understandably some partners have not been in a position to facilitate this. Appreciating that the current situation might last for a long period of time, we have already developed plans to repurpose our programmes to be delivered 100% remotely and are actively working to test  these in the next few weeks.

The safeguarding of young people, adults at risk and the athletes working on behalf of the Trust is always of paramount importance.  We created our approach to remote delivery in close consultation with Safe CIC, the Child Protection and Safeguarding training provider. Similarly, data protection has been at the forefront of our decision making.

  

Supporting our Athletes

We utilise ex elite athletes from a wide range of sports from inline skating to rugby league as contractors to support our young people. The athletes we work with are very much part of our extended team and the work they do is central to how the Trust performs. Many of these athletes will work for other sporting organisations or work as personal trainers or inspirational speakers and like many contractors, they were faced with having little or no work from mid-March onwards.

From the onset of Covid-19 we were committed to supporting our athletes.  We quickly introduced a payment in lieu scheme for sessions which couldn’t go ahead remotely, and we increased our support for athletes through further training, open forums and one to one discussions. 

  

Supporting Our Communities

We are committed to continuing to work with and support our partners.  Since the onset of Covid-19 we have been in regular contact with partners and have underlined our commitment to deliver all committed programmes where reasonably possible.

Delivering social action projects that have a positive effect on the community are at the heart of all of the Trust’s programmes. On the AQA Unlocking Potential programme, students would be in the middle of delivering these projects now, sessions they had thought up, planned and delivered themselves with support of their athlete mentor. Instead we have tasked students to come up with video-based projects that could be used to support their peers and their communities at this time.

 

Supporting Each Other

Our athletes are all experts in their field and we wanted to utilise their skills to help the wider community at this time. We asked them to create short workout or activity films that we could share via our social media films to help people #stayinworkout – a campaign put together by Sport England at the start of the lockdown period. We currently have around 20 videos available that include films from Olympians, Paralympians and world champions. They all can be found on our YouTube playlist.