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Foundation Finds Innovative ways to Stay “Connected”

22nd February 2021

York City Football Club Foundation are pleased to have been able to continue their work with young people during the Pandemic and especially during the current lockdown.

After a very difficult year for everyone, young people included, the Foundation’s Inclusion team were delighted to be able to bring back four City Kickabout drop in and recreational football sessions in Huntington and Acomb, and their weekly Youth Club in Strensall, from September to December last year. The aim was to put some structure back into the lives of the young people, to provide them an outlet for physical activity, support and friendship.

Evidence is clear that the Pandemic has negatively impacted many children and young people, whether this be missing school and their friends or feelings of loneliness and isolation.

With Sport England reporting that 43% of children are doing less than half an hour of activity a day and Mental Health organisations reporting that 50% of those with lifetime mental health problems first experience these before the age of 14, and 1 in 6 children have a diagnosable mental health problem, the Foundation’s work with young people in the community has never been more valid.

The Foundation’s efforts have been supported for several years by the National League Trust and City of York Council, and provide a free or low cost youth offer for age 8-17 across the City.

YCFC Foundation Inclusion Officer Amy Tyro worked on the project and added: “We were concerned that having been away from one another for some time, there was every possibility that we could encounter issues including behavioural or lack of motivation when returning to the pitch with our young people, but we were wrong. They were keen to get back and enjoy some normality, despite having to limit numbers and keep to COVID guidelines, this did not take away from the session and the impact we were having.”

Parents too have seen the benefits of these sessions: “We have seen his confidence grow again and its great to see him making new friends,”

The Foundation wasn’t deterred by Lockdown 2 or 3 and have continued to engage the young people on a weekly basis and stay connected with them and their families through various channels. Zoom sessions were designed to focus on SOCIAL interactions.

An opportunity to meet both old and new friends, with twice weekly "Talk About It" sessions for a chance to chat about a range of topics including recent sporting events and a weekly  "Game Show night" with a unique spin on popular tv game shows both past and present for lots of interactive fun from Family Fortunes to Supermarket Sweep to Catchphrase.

Paula Stainton, Foundation Manager added: “Our aim for continuing to engage with our participants no matter what their age, throughout the last year, has been consistency. If we were there for and supporting anyone prior to the Pandemic, then we wanted to be able to continue to do just that.

“We are increasingly aware of the long term future impact that this time may have, and the positive influence we can have on that. As an example, over half term, we have actively encouraged time to unplug with our “Screen Free” campaign and home activities across all of our young people’s programmes.

“We also recognise the need to keep adapting to maintain engagement and are excited to launch our new ‘Get Pitch Ready’ fun, fitness and ball mastery sessions this week.”

Sessions are designed for those 8 years and over, and are open to all 
young people, not just those who have attended our programmes previously.

If you want to find out more, chat to us about your son or daughters’ involvement, or would like to join our virtual Zoom sessions please email inclusion@yorkcityfcfoundation.co.uk

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