Six weeks ago the world changed abruptly. As schools closed for the foreseeable future due to the COVID-19 pandemic, FBB was forced to stop delivering face to face with young people for the first time in 6 years. Since then, we have thankfully managed to maintain contact with the majority of our participants, who have helped us to understand what the new reality is like for them: waking up at 5pm after gaming all night, struggling to access the work set by their teachers, and like all of us, missing the friends and adults who are usually such a vital source of support in their lives.
One of our participants, a fourteen year old student in Croydon, said the following:
“Everything has changed. I feel like I’m walking into my future with a blindfold on. We need the teachers and other adults to support us, with school work and our lives. If you’re not getting that support at home usually, you look for it in school. When you don’t have school, you feel like you’re unwanted. I feel alone. My mum doesn’t understand how I feel and with work it’s difficult for her to give me the attention I need.”
It is clear that whilst the long-term effects of COVID-19 remain unknown, there is an undeniable set of challenges facing young people right now.
Connecting our digital community through the FBB Virtual School.
As a result, on Monday 20th April, FBB will be launching a redesigned Virtual School programme to engage and support our participants digitally during this difficult time. With many young people feeling increasingly isolated and unmotivated whilst stuck at home, we believe our role in their lives is more important than ever.
When speaking on the creation of the FBB Virtual School, our Head of Impact and Female Participation Ceylon said the following:
“The virtual school day presents a very exciting opportunity to draw on our digitally minded approach.
Our plan to combat this is to draw on the relationships that we have built with young people in the classrooms already to tailor their education to their needs, on platforms that they want and like such as Instagram and TikTok. Hopefully through this new model, we can be a real driver of young people staying on track with their learning and making sure they feel happy, safe, and supported in knowing that we are only a message away.”
We have set ourselves the challenge of reaching every young person, every day during lockdown.
To do this, we’ve had to listen attentively, move quickly, and flex accordingly. We have adapted our delivery curriculum to offer each of our participants a daily virtual school running from 10.30am-4pm.
The aim of these activities will be to ensure that throughout this period, young people will:
- Engage in learning and school work
- Stay emotionally and physically well
- Maintain relationships with FBB staff and their fellow participants
We hope that if we can keep young people engaged in these ways, then when they return to school they will do so:
- Without a large gap in attainment compared to their peers
- With the habits, relationships and norms in place to continue their FBB journey.
- With the physical and mental wellbeing to be able to successfully transition back to full time schooling.
For more information on our FBB Virtual School, and the wider work we are doing to support FBB participants during this period of time, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us! If you feel able to support FBB during these difficult times, please donate here: https://www.footballbeyondborders.org/donate/