‘Whatever you’ve missed, now is the time to get back out there and enjoy it safely.’
One of the government’s phrases encouraging people to try and return to activity and a small taste of normality after months of lockdown due to Covid-19.
‘Enjoy summer safely,’ is another.
Peter Crouch has even boldly gone where no man has gone before by claiming he can ‘Save our Summer’ via a Saturday night television show on the BBC.
All is music to the ears of the staff of Wolves Foundation – well apart perhaps from the Crouch bit – who are now able to re-open some of the projects and activities which were understandably stood down as the virus took hold.
As already mentioned previously on these pages, the Foundation ensured they remained at the heart of the community and the people they serve during the pandemic by adapting services towards providing – amongst many others - virtual learning, a listening ear and support and practical help for the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust.
But for a charity like this, there is no substitute – not even a substitute as potent as Adama Traore - for the personal touch and the face-to-face delivery and interaction which participants so enjoy.
However, that ‘enjoy summer safely’ phrase remains the most pertinent as, whilst the Foundation is now planning a month of activities set to kick off on August 3rd, they will all be delivered in a safe and secure way.
One of the Foundation’s key and popular projects which has already returned outdoors in strict keeping with government and FA guidelines is the PL Kicks programme, with ‘Kicks in the Park’ up and running on a Wednesday evening at East Park.
Wolves’ Premier League Kicks programme was launched in 2010, playing a significant role in the lives of young people across Wolverhampton.
It is part of the national initiative which aims to use football to bring communities together and engage with young people, with the Wolves’ project having relaunched thanks to a significant funding boost last year (as pictured above).
The Foundation has continued to engage with Kicks participants during lockdown via online FIFA competitions as well as a Zoom call with Wolves striker Niall Ennis, but getting back out on the grass has been a huge step forward.
Participants have to pre-book for their session of Footgolf or Football tennis, with numbers limited, and are given their own football with all equipment cleaned and disinfected in between games.
“Our coaches are really keen to get back delivering sessions, and we all want to return, but it all needs to be safe and our offer needs to be right – we are not going to do anything that will put anyone at risk,” explains Foundation Senior Manager Lee Smith.
One of the first participants was Spencer, also a Foundation volunteer and member of the matchday ball crew, who admits he was desperate to get back outside.
“I’ve been stuck in the house for many months, playing a lot of video games, which is unhealthy for me,” he says.
“To come back to the Foundation and start doing activities again has been very enjoyable.”
Can you kick it? Yes, you can, as, slowly but surely, and most importantly safely, the Wolves Foundation gradually re-introduces appropriate sections of its regular programme.
Visit wolves.co.uk/foundation or follow the Foundation’s social media channels - @wwfcfoundation on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram - to find out more.