The Current Impact of Coronavirus on Play It Again Sport
A CALL TO ARMS….WHAT IS LURKING AT THE BACK OF YOUR WARDROBE? WE DESPERATELY NEED YOUR UNWANTED SPORTS KIT & EQUIPMENT. WITHOUT DONATIONS WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO CONTINUE. Click Read more to find out why we need too.
As rules and regulations relax, and then, tighten again, the impact Covid-19 has on our daily lives continues challenge us all. For many, it’s a continuation of working from home and limiting who you visit, and where. For social enterprises, it makes survival incredibly difficult.
Why does it matter? Aside from the obvious reason of employment, there is the social good these organisations provide that big conglomerates and ‘normal’ businesses simply don’t, because so much of what makes us human is not tied up in money, but in emotional connections and socialisation.
Social businesses provide a link to communities and supply what they need, they create a human connection that is not easily found in Tesco or Primark; someone to talk too, a shared space where people can meet, stay warm, have a hot drink, share knowledge, learn new skills, exercise together; human transactions that don’t cost a penny, but are worth their weight in gold.
How does Play It Again Sport operate in this way? We have three main purposes:
- To remove financial barriers to participating in sport
- To increase re-use and promote sustainability
- To support our communities in a healthier lifestyle
We take donations of used and new sports kit and equipment, prepare and sell it in conjunction with Too Good To Waste (a local furniture re-use shop and charity), at vastly reduced prices. We know our community needs access to affordably priced clothing, and not just for sport. The money raised from sales is then used to support sporting activities in the local area and to promote sustainability. As a result we’ve diverted over 10000 items from landfill in the last two years and engaged with more than 1400 people in sporting activities, improving their physical health and mental wellbeing.
Let’s talk about one of our walking rugby regulars as an example, let’s call him Patrick. He’s in his mid-sixties. He had played rugby avidly as a young man but when he married, family life became his priority. His children grew up and moved away. He retired. Suddenly, two years ago, his wife died and Patrick was alone. Through a friend, Patrick heard about walking rugby, he came every week. He then suggested a coffee afterwards, and now the group go for lunch after every session. He has made new friends who regularly socialize together.
It may ONLY be a walking rugby group to some people, but to others it is a reason to get up on a Tuesday morning, a lifeline to other people, exercise for the body and balm to the mind.
This is just one person. This is how we make a difference.
Due to Covid-19 people like Patrick have had nearly six months of missing out. Unable to meet others in social environments and interact in physical proximity, loneliness and isolation are an inevitable consequence. A more sedentary lifestyle over lockdown alongside food choices made out of necessity and comfort, it is unsurprising that fitness and nutrition levels have declined. The correlation between physical health and mental wellbeing is well established, so not only has mental health suffered as a direct result of lockdown and the ramifications of Covid-19 on society, but also due to reduced exercise.
Now we find ourselves in a transient position, allowed to meet for training but waiting for the bell to toll to say we can’t. Anxious to resume what we can, but nervous that we may contribute to a future lockdown.
We have added pressure knowing the items we sell are in demand more than ever, due to job losses and reduced incomes, but without the means to collect donations. Leisure centres are quite rightly insisting that people take nothing with them into their buildings. Including donations. So we find ourselves without stock. Without items to sell. Unable to raise money to support people like Patrick.
Understandably, with everyone in similar positions, there are few alternatives where we can safely collect donated items from. We rely on these contributions to fund our activities and to provide much needed items for people in our local communities.
Can you help? We want to continue and we hope to keep assisting those who depend on the services we provide, but we can’t do it without donations.
Please visit our website to find out more information, www.playitagainsport.wales or contact me directly to enquire about making a clothing donation;
Covid-19 & Play it Again Sport
Like many other businesses and organisations our normal operations came to a screeching halt on March 23rd with the announcement of a UK-wide lockdown.
Nearly everything that would normally happen on a daily basis was now forbidden!
So, was it a time to sit down and do nothing? Of course not!
Having recently moved into new office premises in Pentre a lot of our stock was in need of some serious organization, sorting out all the historic and recent donations was a mammoth task in itself.
Preparing a ‘quarantine zone’ for donated items was also at the top of the list. This designated area allows items to be left alone, in a separate space for at least 72 hours before they are moved to the next phase of processing.
Getting our stockroom sorted was an overdue task, that had been postponed far too many times! It means that when business is back on track, replenishing the shopfloor will be a much smoother operation, and the stock will be managed carefully so that by the time the items are put for sale, it will be safe for them to be sold. There is plenty of stock ready and waiting to find a new lease of life.
Much as our back of house needed sorting, so did our front of house, a website had been planned for a long time, but had always been put on the backburner. Ethan Jones, from People & Work designed and built our fabulous new website (which you will now be visiting if you’re reading this blog!). Here, you can find out everything you would ever want to know about Play It Again Sport; where you can donate your items, how you can buy them, and what happens with the money that is raised. Future plans include a webshop so you can buy directly from us.
Supporting our community is at the heart of Play It Again Sport, so finding ways to still do this was really important to us. There had been plans to deliver sporting activities at Ynys y Werin St Anne’s Community Group in Ynyshir, which had to be put on hold due to lockdown, but the amazing work of the group meant that In lieu of sporting activities, other activities were delivered.
Easter Craft Packs, Easter Eggs, VE Craft Packs and Packs of Joy all had to be distributed in the local area, and what a pleasure it has been to lift people’s spirits by providing these.
There have been so many fantastic local groups working so hard to help in the Rhondda, and as our usual method of support was rendered impossible, instead we have pledged money to The Play Yard and Rhondda Foodbank who have been ensuring that people who need food at this critical time do not go without, have a look at their pages to see the work they have been doing. Play It Again Sport is so proud to have supported these fabulous organisations, if you know of any other community projects that need assistance, please call or email us.
And if you have any ideas of future projects that can be delivered, don’t hesitate to share them with us, and hopefully Play It Again Sport will be back as you know it sooner rather than later!
Spectacle Theatre was established in 1979 and has developed into an international award-winning company. They specialise in participatory arts to engage with people of every demographic, from young children to elderly people in care homes. The work they do is extremely diverse and is a credit to the talent of the staff and volunteers.
A men’s mental health group was thought up by the young people already involved with Spectacle. We, as an organisation, were brought in to help diversify the staff present at the meetings. Suicide is the biggest killer among males under the age of 40 and we believe that locally people are much more aware of men’s mental health, so it’s important we get the community and young men on board.
Currently there are young men attending the group from Treorchy and the surrounding areas. If the staff present believe those attending may benefit from other services, they can help those attending locate these services.
The young men who are currently involved are very proactive in their approach and are great at coming up with fresh concepts to keep the ideas rolling. Come along and join us – we’re all there to help each other.
St Anne’s Community Group Launch
On Sunday March 1st 2020, Play It Again Sport attended the community day at St Anne’s Church Hall, Ynyshir. This day was about celebrating the acquisition of the church hall for a year – to be used by the community, for the community. We were in great company to celebrate St David’s Day with Julie Edwards, the local councillor, Pendyrus Male Choir, Welsh Water, RCT Rocks, the Deputy Mayor Cllr Susan Morgans and Cllr Jack Harries also present.
Our original intention had been to provide games for those that were attending – particularly for any children, and to find out what type of activities we could possibly provide in the church hall in the future.
However, the size of the church hall, along with the numbers of people that attended (202!) meant that this could not happen; there were just too many people in the hall for us to deliver any sports.
We saw this as a great opportunity to engage with those that were attending and find out what the people of Ynyshir would like to see the church hall used for. We spoke directly with people from all demographics, from those still at school to those long since retired and everyone in between!
There were over a hundred suggestions, and many of them can be supported by Play It Again Sport.
We look forward to working with St Anne’s Community Group to help them establish a community centre with something for everyone.
Porthcawl ParkRun Donation in Collaboration with Bridgend County Borough Running League
In January we were contacted on behalf of Bridgend County Borough Running League – many of their members had commented that they had an excess of running kit, and they wanted to donate it to a good cause.
BCBRL were hosting their annual awards ceremony on Saturday 25th January 2020 and asked us along to take their donations. As many of the runners were running at Porthcawl Parkrun prior to their awards ceremony, we decided to open up our donation bins to everyone who was at parkrun.
The weather was freezing! But it didn’t stop many runners bringing along lots of their old kit that still had plenty of life left in it. As always, we explained prior to the event that we are happy to take ALL SPORTS RELATED DONATIONS! Subsequently, we had our first set of skis donated!
In total we received approximately 1200 units of clothing and equipment donated to us.
We received nearly 400 race t-shirts, which we’re hoping to recycle into alternative items to raise awareness of the importance of sustainability at running events. This was echoed by the BCBRL in their awards ceremony – no t-shirts were given as prizes, instead winners were given wooden trophies, biodegradable and with a smaller carbon footprint.
Due to the success of this donation we are now going to be at Pontypridd Parkrun on February 22nd February and at Bryn Bach Parkrun on March 28th 2020.
These items are then put for sale in Too Good To Waste in Ynyshir (near Porth) at affordable prices, so everyone can afford to buy the kit they need to take part in sport. The money raised from these sales then supports local sporting projects, such as walking rugby.
For more information on Play It Again Sport, please contact Natasha Burnell:
Natasha.Burnell@peopleandwork.org.uk or 07375 894007
Cardiff Half Marathon Collection
Cardiff Half Marathon 2019 took place on Sunday October 6th. Prior to the event we were contacted by Run 4 Wales and asked to support them.
During the Cardiff half marathon contestants can throw their clothes into a donation bin. These are then donated to a charity. This year we were the charity of choice. The volume of clothes that is donated is dependent on the weather. For example, if it is very cold, contestants tend to keep their over layers on to keep them warm or if it is too hot then contests may only wear what they intend to run in.
Participants are made aware that any clothing they remove is donated to a local charity.
We filled a van with the clothes, which were then sorted by local volunteers from Treorchy library. This was done by filtering items to see what was suitable for resale and what needed to be recycled. This was an interesting task as people had mistaken the donation bins for actual rubbish bins so we had everything from bacon rolls to banana peels amongst sweatshirts and hoodies!
The clothes that were suitable to be sold were then sent to Parc Prison (which has a partnership deal with our partners, Too Good To Waste) where the prisoners washed the clothes – this is part of the prison’s scheme where prisoners can earn money for the work they do, and is part of their rehabilitation process. The prison was perfect for this as they have the capacity to process the volume of clothing we had.
When the clothes were returned to us, the volunteers then helped hang and price the clothing. This was a tremendous help – we would have struggled to do it on our own. This volunteering event was covered by BBC Wales and you can find the link here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/cymrufyw/50368765 (Welsh website); https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000b7wc (Radio Cymru in Welsh – listen at 45:30).
These items were then put out for sale in Too Good to Waste. The money raised from this pays for sporting activities to be delivered in the Rhondda.
We would be more than happy to support events like these in the future and if you would like us to be at your event please find our contact details below.
Contact: James.Watts-Rees@peopleandwork.org.uk 07392 072115
Walking Rugby Tournament with Upper Rhondda Colliers
Over the last couple of months People and Work charity has been involved with many projects, one of these was a walking rugby tournament where teams from across the UK turned up to play on a Friday evening.
The Upper Rhondda Colliers Walking Rugby team was created in partnership with People & Work, Martyn Broughton of Active Nutrition and Welcome To Our Woods, a third sector organisation operating in the upper Rhondda Valley tackling issues such as health, wellbeing, mental health, skills and jobs, helping people within the community gain valuable life and employment skills.
The kit that we played in was sponsored by local companies, The Lion Hotel and Selsig Travel, for which we are extremely grateful. Without these sponsors we would not be able to have had our brand new kit for this tournament and all future tournaments: it really helps to build a team identity and unite us.
The walking rugby tournament was hosted in Treorchy School by the Upper Rhondda Colliers and was supported by volunteers and the Welsh Rugby Union. The night was a great success with teams attending from Cambrian, Kingswood, Taff’s Well and many others.
The aim of walking rugby is to engage people in a fun physical way which also positively impacts on mental health. As it is open to all ages and all abilities we believe this sport is for everyone.
After every walking rugby training session we all go for some food or a coffee, which we as a community feel is really important to unwind with friends around us. This is used to extend the bond from the rugby pitch into friendship
One of the players stated that “walking rugby has introduced me back into rugby which I hadn’t played since school, I also enjoy the banter and good exercise during the week”.
We meet every week at The Play Yard in Ynyswen between 11 am and 12 pm and would love to see new faces, male or female, and any age.
In the coming months we are looking to set up numerous clubs and activities such as a chess club, and Polish language club, which will be run by young people. If you have any ideas or would like to take part, please get in touch with us.
Contact: James.Watts-Rees@peopleandwork.org.uk 07392 072115