Park Sport, the yearly summer sports programme, organised by Eastleigh Borough Council’s SportWorks team went ahead, despite the pandemic. The activities organised were a little differently from previous years, but again catered for eight to 16-year olds, as well as their families, in the Borough.
To ensure the safety of those who took part, all activities were for household groups, designed for outdoor spaces or socially distanced. The programme was also largely free and time-flexible to support families during lockdown easing.
Park Sport is funded annually by SportWorks as well as the Local Area Committees, Parish and Town Councils to provide a heavily subsidised active programme at locations across the Borough.
Over 1,500 took part across August, in three strands – Discover your Parks, Virtual Challenges and Adventure Story. Two elements included prizes in the form of sports shop vouchers to encourage engagement.
Discover your Parks were supported by banners in 11 parks and open spaces across the Borough to signpost families to active fun. A summer photography competition took place weekly and a geocaching was set up with seven locations with coloured cards to collect.
Virtual Challenges called on local sport and activity providers to create challenge videos to be released weekly throughout August, and they didn’t disappoint. Tennis, dance, weightlifting, boxing, netball and gymnastics coaches (and helpers) shaped three challenges each with subtitled video demos. Fun downloadable game cards were also provided for families to challenge each other to active versions of noughts and crosses, as well as bingo.
The Adventure Story element consisted of two country park trails. The interactive story trail was created by The Point Eastleigh and held at the Itchen Valley Country Park. Families followed the magical story, led by actors, challenging them complete tasks in the forest. A photography trail was also created for Lakeside Country Park to guide families across the park to match photos along the way.
Some of the Park Sport 2020 activities will be available up until October Half Term, such as the challenge videos, game cards and geocaching.
SportWorks were keen to support families using local food banks (Eastleigh, Hedge End and Hound). A partnership has ensured everyone in the Borough were able to take part. Families who used the food bank were given a priority window before general sale for the interactive story trail and 80 Park Sport bags containing a range of sports equipment have been donated to the food banks so that they can take part in the challenges and utilise the equipment this summer and in the future.
Thank you to all the local sport and activity providers:
- Dance Junkies
- Eastleigh Boxing Club
- Ravens Netball Club
- Dynamo School of Gymnastics
- The Point Eastleigh
- Lakeside Weightlifting
- Premier Tennis Hampshire
The Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Councillor Tonia Craig, said: “We are proud to have been successful in ensuring Park Sport went ahead for summer 2020. It has been essential not only to support the health and wellbeing of young people and their families in the Borough, but to continue well-loved services wherever possible. I wish to share in the thanks to our great local sports clubs and activity providers who took part, which included our creative team at The Point.”