Hertfordshire has a vibrant network of voluntary and community sports clubs, who make a massive contribution to community life in the county.
As well as delivering sporting opportunities, they also help to enhance community cohesion, social inclusion, and educational attainment, and to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour. They provide positive and diversionary opportunities for some of the most marginalised members of our communities and play a very important role in the health and wellbeing of our residents.
The Coronavirus pandemic has had a massive impact on those clubs and sporting organisations – with lost income streams, cessation of playing activities and for some, the perennial hand-to-mouth existence has been further exacerbated by recent events.
The Herts Sports and Physical Activity Partnership (HSP) is keen to better understand some of those issues facing local sports clubs and since the lockdown begun, have been busy organising online exercise programmes and a series of free webinars for local clubs.
Additionally HSP has provided free funding advice and bid writing support to enable those clubs experiencing difficulties, to access the various support programmes that are on offer.
On Tuesday 26 May 2020, HSP will be running two online interactive webinars – at 2pm and 7pm – with a view to bringing together local clubs to discuss current arrangements; how they are coping with restrictions; and what further support they need, as we hopefully move to the recovery period.
The sessions will be chaired by HSP Partnership Director, John O’Callaghan together with colleagues Jane Shewring and Lead for Clubs and National Governing Bodies, Chris Samways – and will help shape how the Partnership can tailor its support for clubs, going forward.
In announcing the sessions, O’Callaghan said:
“We have over 2,500 voluntary sports clubs in Hertfordshire and they are at the heart of community life. They undertake some fantastic work on behalf of our communities – much of which is unrecognised - but they make such a telling contribution to ensuring that our county is a safer and better places to live and work.
“As we come out of these unprecedented times, their role will be more important than ever in nurturing the physical and mental wellbeing of our residents. At HSP, we are committed to better understanding their needs and aspirations, in order that we may shape our offer accordingly.
“I would urge as many clubs as possible to join us for one of these sessions because as well as informing our approach in Hertfordshire, it will provide excellent insight as to the difficulties facing our clubs which we will feed into Sport England and other national organisations, so that the hugely important work that they undertake, is given due consideration in emerging policy decisions.”
To register for your free place please go to sportinherts.org.uk/covid19webinars.