As the new season kicks off this weekend, we’re delighted to welcome Watford to the EFL and we’ve been looking back at Watford Community Sports and Education Trust’s response to lockdown and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Should you look up community in the dictionary, you would find a statement that lacks depth – ‘a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common’. However, when you see community in action, rather than words on a page or screen, that’s when you really understand what it means.
To see this community in action you need look no further than the way the Watford FC family has reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fantastic efforts of staff from across the club alongside groups of magnificent volunteers and partner organisations, with the Hornets at Home and Vicarage Road Stadium Sanctuary initiatives – have been wonderful to witness.
Contrary to the definition, at Watford, community transcends ‘common personality traits’, in fact it is the polar opposite. This is a community made up of an array of members boasting diversity across age, gender, background, culture, mental health, physical health and yes, even across ‘particular characteristics’. This is at the heart of the work of Watford FC’s Community Sports and Education Trust. Even in these difficult, unprecedented times it continues to cater for a wide range of members of the community, just as it always has.
There has been support for local schools and pupils with a range of home learning resources across PSHE, English, Maths and physical activity, as well as a mental wellbeing course delivered online. Elsewhere youngsters have been kept engaged with footballing technical challenges, drills and tips, with tailor made strength and conditioning clips provided for players who are part of the disability hub.
Young people have been kept engaged with a series of online offerings including FIFA tournaments, forums, quizzes, bakery classes and skills practises. To keep the mind active as well, there have been online classroom sessions and employability mentoring.
The focus for adults has been health – both physical and mental – from home workouts and weight management support to programmes focussed on providing motivation and signposting to appropriate exercises via phone calls, texts, and emails. Weekly mental wellbeing catch-ups and quizzes have also been running via Zoom.
The Trust has also kept in touch with some of our older members of the community. On top of the regular wellbeing calls as part of the Hornets at Home initiative, there has been engagement with older members of both Cedars Youth & Community Centre and Meriden Community Centre. The specially designed publication of the Golden Times newspaper provided further sustenance for the mind.
Match all of this with the intergenerational work of encouraging children and young people to get in touch with the older generation with letters and hosted quizzes, there really is some inspirational work going on around this community and we’re delighted they are joining out network.