Since March 23rd, the Goals4Girls team have been working remotely to support some of London’s most vulnerable girls and young women.
Lockdown has no doubt posed challenges to the team’s Educational Practitioners in particular.
Not being able to see their mentees face-to-face throughout the school week has perhaps been the biggest adjustment they have had to make.
For young people who participate in the G4G programme, not being able to ‘pop into’ the team’s office, attend weekly mentoring meetings as well as their beloved football training sessions, has impacted their lives immensely, and not for the better.
Not having someone to speak to about their mental health, concerns regarding school and generally everyday issues and obstacles teenagers face in 2020, led to feelings of isolation among some participants.
Fortunately, like most organisations during the height of the pandemic, Zoom came to the rescue!
Scheduling individual and group mentoring sessions with participants online, setting weekly tasks to occupy their young people (they smashed their TikTok Don’t Rush Challenge!) and providing a safe space for them to share and discuss their feelings without judgement, helped to reduce these feelings of isolation.
Spoken word activities to help participants express themselves (check out 16-year-old Daniella’s poem ‘Prisoner’), vision-board exercises to document aspirations and future plans post-lockdown as well as online video calls with individuals participants find inspirational were some of things carried out during lockdown.
One of the more successful and engaging series of activities that took place during the early stages of the pandemic were G4G’s COVID19 Catch-Up Chats via Instagram Live.
This series saw G4G Founder & CEO Francesca Brown and Head of Comms Amie Cripps host live talks with a range of footballing legends: ex-England and Chelsea striker Eniola Aluko, freestyler Rocky Hehakaija, Arsenal and England striker Danielle Carter, plus Leadership Consultant and former athlete Michelle Moore.
Each guest speaker discussed their role in football and sport, success (and failure) as well as answering a range of questions submitted by G4G participants.
To keep their girls and young women physically active during lockdown, one of their Lead Educational Practitioners hosted live workout sessions on a weekly basis. Soon-to-be qualified PT and mentor to some of the organisation’s most vulnerable participants – Yasmin – got the girls to work up a sweat whilst at home!
The G4G team also created a G4G Book Club to encourage young people to read more books about Black experiences and by Black authors. The likes of Aston Villa’s Anita Asante, The Telegraph’s Women in Sport Editor Anna Kessell and footballing legend Ian Wright submitted their recommendations, along with various members and supporters of the G4G community.
As an organistion, G4G cannot wait to see their participants on a regular basis and are looking forward to the new academic year. Bring it on!