When the Covid pandemic hit over a year ago, little did we know how much our lives would be affected.
The pandemic also had a big effect on the daily operations here at Bristol Sport Foundation. Unable to deliver our usual programme of school and community sport provision we had to go back to the drawing board and think about how we could put our resources to best use given the situation.
We reached out to our corporate partners who are part of our Nascence programme. Nascence is our business and community engagement programme which works in partnership with others to have the greatest social impact in the communities of Greater Bristol.
Pooling our resources, and those of our corporate partners, we developed a number of initiatives with the aim of helping those most in need throughout the crisis.
Our literacy recovery programme enlisted the support of Hargreaves Lansdown, Burges Salmon, Pure Planet, Ernst & Young and Santander to help children who had fallen behind in their reading levels because of schools being shut by giving them time to practice reading ‘one to one’ with a volunteer adult or ‘Buddy’ using the power of technology to enable virtual volunteering.
Alongside these partners we were also supported by Womble Bond Dickinson and facilitated a donation of over 300 books to vulnerable groups, with many books supporting Somali refugee families who are learning English but had no access to school or library resources.
Tackling Food Inequality
We also embarked on a food equality programme throughout the lockdown to teach families living in Knowle West the value of healthy cooking and to support those who could not put food on the table. This programme was facilitated by Hargreaves Lansdown and in partnership with Feeding Bristol and Square Food Foundation which enabled us to deliver 32 hours of physical activity and cooking lessons to 76 vulnerable families.
The pandemic also shined a light on the extent of the digital divide in the UK, it became clear that many families that were home-schooling did not have access to digital devices such as laptops or tablets and, as such, were forced to do a lot of their learning on mobile phones. To address this, we partnered with DigiLocal and facilitated donations from Santander, Womble Bond Dickinson and Heat Recruitment to support these families by providing them with hardware and software.
With the job market being particularly difficult during this time, we worked with the Mitie Foundation to deliver 40 hours of ‘get ready for work’ training for students taking part in Bristol Bears Community Foundations HITZ programme.
Paul Glanville, Corporate Partnerships Manager at Bristol Sport Foundation, said: “We are proud of our long-standing Nascence Partnerships, our shared values around physical, and emotional well-being, inclusivity and giving back to our local community provide an incredible foundation and we look forward to seeing these relationships go from strength to strength as we navigate our way towards calmer waters.”
Kirsty Green-Mann, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Burges Salmon LLP said: “We’re delighted to be able to partner with Bristol Sport Foundation on such an important programme. Given the pandemic it is paramount we do all that we can so inequalities aren’t further exacerbated. Literacy is such an important building block for future success. Hats off to the foundation for innovating and enabling the firm’s volunteers.”
We greatly value all of the contributions of our Nascence partners but our job is by no means done. If you would like to find out more or get involved please contact Paul Glanville.