Sport in the Park
First established in 2000 Battersea Summer Scheme’s Sport in the Park started as a ‘family day’ and has now become our flag ship event. For four days at the beginning of the summer holidays we hire an area of Battersea Park and organise a variety of sports run by professional sports coaches. There are also more daring activities such as high ropes and a climbing wall as well as arts and crafts and music. Various agencies attend giving advice and information in a fun and entertaining way which includes school nurses, police, fire brigade and Network Rail.
Sport in the Park 2019 – Tuesday 30th July – Friday 2nd August
We target the unprivileged young in the borough aged between 8 and 16 although the event is open to all. Some 2,000 young people attend with either their families or youth groups. We advertise in the local schools, youth groups, the local estates, council facilities and libraries as well as in other forms of social media. The young people pay £1.00 per day which lets them try everything. The event itself also creates a wonderful family atmosphere and many groups arrive and create a ‘base’ and bring picnics for the day.
The day trips are exciting days out to a variety of venues. Most are to outdoor adventure sites where, apart from usually getting dirty and exhausted, they are designed to develop an individual’s skills such as initiative, leadership, creativity and time management. As well as being enjoyed, the competitive element and teamwork is of immediate benefit, for now and in the future. The groups also go to theme parks which are usually undertaken as a reward for completing an in-club course. Always popular and well deserved. Other outings are as simple as fruit picking or a trip to the seaside – a first for some!
These day trips help to ensure a packed summer of activities for the young to enjoy. We pay for all transport costs and significantly subsidise activity costs. Although we organise these trips throughout the summer holidays, it is the youth clubs and groups who promote and encourage attendance of the young and their staff who accompany them. They also help and encourage fundraising towards the subsidised cost of these trips which helps to improve the interaction between the young people as well as with the staff.
These outings to venues mostly across South East England cost us approximately £25 per person and we book over 2,000 places each year!
Working closely with the local youth clubs, we meet to decide what workshops they would like to run. Some are more easy to achieve than others! A recent request for life guard training from a young man who could not actually swim made us smile. Thanks to a new Council initiative to enable cheap swimming sessions, this young man is gaining some proficiency! The workshops can take place at the youth clubs or at external venues and can run over several weeks. Funding availability often limits what we are able to provide. Many of these courses lead to an accreditation which will be a valuable addition to a young person’s CV.
We aim to send as many young people as possible with staff, on outward bound type residential courses. We choose stimulating and challenging environments. The young people selected come mostly from pupil referral units and are often difficult to engage.
The courses have a diverse range of activities which can include abseiling, gorge scrambling, sailing, hiking, camping etc all run by professionals. The youth workers deliver evening workshops which engage and inform the young people with pertinent information in relation to cyber, drugs and safety issues. They also improve their social skills particularly when the use of mobile phone may not be possible!