Written by Shay Fenton, Workforce Lead, Leap
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity
Adapting our workforce support during the Covid-19 pandemic
No nation has escaped the widespread and devastating disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, it has changed the way we all go about our daily lives and has already provided many challenges for individuals and organisations. But as Albert Einstein once said “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity” and although the physical activity and sport sector has been massively affected by Covid-19, it has also provided us with the opportunity to think, work and behave differently…
To cite Simon Sinek's ‘Golden Circle’, what we do and why we do it has remained the same during the last 6 months or so, how we do it has been forced to change by the situation we find ourselves in.
The question I've been asking myself and others within my role as Workforce Lead at Leap (The Bucks & MK Sport and Activity Partnership) is what’s another way we can do this?
Initially for us it was around embracing technology to keep in contact regularly with our local workforce, it was important for us to understand how the workforce were feeling and using this insight as well as national data to adapt our offer.
We set up several online training opportunities that covered a range of topics including delivering activities for the whole family and wellbeing & resilience. We also worked closely with the tutors of these online training opportunities to ensure they were engaging and interactive as this style of training works best for us in a face to face environment, it was important we could replicate this virtually too. In essence we were trying to live by The Coaching Lab (one of our workshop deliverers) motto of Don’t be boring, be exciting! It seemed to be working.
The training opportunities also allowed us to further strengthen relationships with key workforce partners, including Sport England specialist workforce partners Boing and Our Parks. Another key outcome from the regular online training was they created opportunities for local deliverers to continue to have casual collisions - chance encounters and unplanned interactions between each other that often happen when training is delivered face to face. We believe these informal conversations are key to fostering an improvement culture locally across our workforce. From these informal conversations grew small communities of practices where local deliverers shared ideas, challenges and successes.
“We’re not all in the same boat, we are all in the same storm”
For me, this quote really epitomises the situation for the workforce currently. More so than ever we need to be person centred, everybody’s situation is different, and our support has had to focus more on listening to the individual and connecting them with the most appropriate support.
I'm extremely grateful that I have been able to count on the people around me here at Leap to help with this individualised support for the local workforce, I can think of numerous examples where the Leap team have engaged and supported the workforce during his time. Our project leads used the Sport England workforce evaluation guidance to better understand our project deliverers, what works well for them, there challenges and how we can support them further.
Another colleague developed & delivered physical activity training for Covid-19 volunteers to raise their confidence to have conversations and encourage the people they are supporting to be active. Other examples include funding advice, application support and workforce specific info on our website, it really has been a team effort and further demonstrated that workforce sits across the whole team here at Leap.
Thanks a million!
The last few weeks have allowed time for reflection and we wanted to say thank you to all the local deliverers that have continued to do fantastic work to keep people active and positive during these challenging times by sending them handwritten thank you cards.
I have been truly inspired by all the great people who have continued improving lives through physical activity and sport during these challenging times by getting and keeping people active. As someone reminded me recently, people are the most important asset we have in our sector, we must take care of them, recognise them and celebrate the value of people.
Thanks for reading, if you’re interested to find out more about any of the info above please get in touch.