Covid-19 Response: A message from our CEO

How the Youth Sport Trust is adapting to the challenges presented by Covid-19.

A message from Youth Sport Trust CEO Ali Oliver

The challenges we face in these unprecedented times are greater than any our charity has faced in its 25-year history, and unlike anything many of us have seen in a lifetime.

In these unprecedented times, the Youth Sport Trust has taken some significant steps to do things differently. These essential measures are focused on delivering on our mission to make life better for children during this time, while also safeguarding the future of our charity to ensure we are able to continue improving young lives once the crisis is over.

From the start of this week, we placed two-thirds of our staff on furlough leave. This was a hugely difficult decision, but like many organisations, an essential one to put us in a stronger position over the long term. I would like to thank our staff who have taken this on with huge professionalism and integrity.

With a smaller team for at least the next two months, we are refocusing our work to make sure we can make the biggest difference for those who need us most.

During this period of social distancing, isolation and school closures, the value of social connection – always at the heart of what our charity works to achieve – has been brought into sharp focus.

With millions of children now at home, we are working to support parents and carers take on the new challenge of home schooling. Through our #StayHomeStayActive campaign we are publishing daily resources and ideas for home PE. This includes a real focus on helping parents to understand the purpose of Physical Education and its role helping young people across in all aspects of their lives – not just for their physical development, literacy and health but their social wellbeing, mental health and development of life skills too.

Every year the Youth Sport Trust trains thousands of teachers and practitioners. This work will be continuing online, ensuring that we use this opportunity to help support teachers give young people the best quality of education when their schools reopen.

Meanwhile the School Games Organiser network has been redeployed to deliver a virtual weekly sport ad physical activity digital programme to keep children active.

This focus on finding ways to connect during a time of isolation will be brought to the fore in our annual campaign, National School Sport Week. Taking place at the end of June, we will focus on celebrating and supporting families using sport and play to improve wellbeing. I look forward to sharing more details on this very soon.

From everyone at the Youth Sport Trust, thank you for all you continue to do to improve young people’s lives through sport and play, even in these most challenging times. I would particularly like to thank our funders including Sport England, sportscotland and Sport Wales, Spirit of 2012, the People’s Health Trust and Wimbledon Foundation who have continued to commit to our work and are allowing us to be flexible and innovative in our ongoing delivery.