Return to Sport and Activity Guidance, Tools and Resources for Deliverers and Volunteers

Here you’ll find key information to help and support you, your groups, clubs and volunteers return to play safely! 

Firstly, a huge thank you from Active Devon to the volunteers, helpers, coaches, leaders, instructors and organisations who are currently keeping Devon’s local communities active and looking after everyone around you during this time.

To support our physical activity and sport sector in Devon we have put together this useful toolkit with up-to-date and trusted information with regards to making the transition from lockdown to returning to sport and activity.

Sport England Guidance, Tools and Resources:

With the restrictions starting to ease from the 29th of March, Sport England has been updating and adding to the guidance that they published last year. We have pulled together the following information to help you prepare for a safe return to play.

Other Guidance, Tools and Resources:

These short bite sized videos, featuring Peterborough Town Sports Club, show how activities can be safely arranged.

If you’re looking for sport-specific COVID-19 guidance on outdoor sports and physical activity, our partner London Sport has put together this most up-to-date information.

CIMSPA has created this updated overview of the guidance for anyone working in sport, exercise, fitness and physical activity.

Guidance, Tools and Resources for Volunteers:

We’re passionate about volunteering and supporting Devon’s amazing volunteers that help make activity and sport happen. Volunteers have a vital role to play as sport and physical activity providers plan for a return.

So what should you be thinking about when it comes to your volunteers returning safely and being well-prepared? Sport England has provided a range of Workforce guidance, tools and resources to help support you with this. Click on the link below.

Communication is key! Regular and relevant communications play a vital role in engaging and retaining your people. The guide below highlights why you may benefit from reviewing your current approach to communicating with your participants and volunteers. Such as key messages your people might benefit from hearing, and how you can quickly plan and deliver improvements to the way you communicate.

Engaging Your Local Community:

With many people and communities feeling excluded, this Spring and Summer is a critical moment to be more inclusive, more relevant and tackle these inequalities.

Sport England have produced some very useful insight from recent research that can show you five ways that you can help people return to sport and physical activity.

Five Simple Ways You Can Help People Return to Sport and Physical Activity

As outdoor sport reopens next week, we’ve prepared some advice and ideas based on the tracking and monitoring we’ve been doing with people around their attitudes, intentions and feelings about getting back out there.

Our most recent research shows activity levels are significantly lower than they were before the pandemic. On top of that, people are feeling nervous about their abilities and their conditioning – 30% of people report a decline in their strength abilities, for example.

But people are looking ahead to the future positively, with the changing weather and the vaccine rollout both likely to play a significant role in encouraging people to get out there, play sport and be active. Here’s what people have told us will help them to return to play.

Showcase Your Safety Measures

The issue: While the vaccine rollout has created a sense of optimism and some people are feeling less worried about being close to others, there are more cautious people who don’t see the vaccine as a silver bullet. Many told us they’re still conscious about influencing transmission rates in the community or catching it themselves.

How you can help: People expect providers to overtly convey and enforce COVID-19 safety measures including managing any limitations on numbers, especially indoors, enforcing social-distancing measures, cleaning and using signage that encourages positive behaviour. For team sports you should make the guidelines under which you’re operating very clear from the off.

Emphasise the Enjoyment Factor

The issue: More than half of people (58%) told us they miss the activities they were able to do before the outbreak. They want to think of exercise as something enjoyable to look forward to, and it plays different roles in people’s lives.

How you can help: Make sure your provision in the coming months is highly enjoyable and fun. Give people something to look forward to. Tailor your messages to emphasise what your activity will bring people – fun, confidence, ‘me time’, a social element, wellbeing and fresh air.

Mental Health Matters – But Show the Benefits, Don’t Tell

The issue: The pandemic and dreary weather has taken its toll on people’s mental health and motivation. People tell us they already know that staying active is a positive way to alleviate this, but that when they’re experiencing a lack of motivation, having it pointed out to them can make them feel guilty, so it has the opposite effect.

How you can help: You don’t need to tell people that physical activity and sport is good for their mental health – they already know this. People are responding better to compassion. Messaging should centre around making small lifestyle changes and building up gradually to increase physical capability as well as confidence. Encourage people to share their own stories, be kind to themselves and celebrate the daily victories.

Ease People Back In

The issue: Even some of the most active say their fitness levels have been affected by the pandemic. Deconditioning and loss of strength is likely to present a real challenge to people’s confidence and motivation.

How you can help: Work with your coaches and providers to ensure they understand the need to ‘go easy’. Encourage people to make small, manageable changes to everyday habits to increase strength and stamina, as well as confidence. Take it slow and celebrate small wins. Encourage people not to give themselves a hard time on days they do not meet their own expectations or goals.

Keep it Cheap or Free

The issue: Since the start of the pandemic, employment levels for those aged 16-24 and 65+ have fallen by 6%, creating extra financial burden. Women, younger adults, people with disabilities and people from Black and Asian ethnic backgrounds are most likely to have been disproportionately affected financially. Many people told us they would rather not commit financially to long-term memberships or subscriptions at the moment.

How you can help: Consider offering low cost, flexible options or hybrid options that help people build up to fuller payments.

We hope that you find this toolkit useful. If you would like any further guidance please do not hesitate to get in contact with Louise Evans – Active Devon’s Workforce Lead, via our Contact Form.

We thank you for your continued support and inspiration to local communities in Devon. You really are making a difference to Devon’s health and wellbeing. Stay Safe and well!

“At Active Devon we passionately believe that being active is important as ever. However, safety is paramount, and it is crucial that everyone follows current government guidance while continuing to stay active. #StayActiveStaySafe.”