Lessons Learnt from 2020

I was reminded earlier today, that the practice of being present and looking around you at the small stuff, helps to focus and get more achieved. So, at a time when we look back at last year and make plans, set goals for the year ahead, I wanted to reflect and think about lessons learnt from 2020.

Undoubtably, words such as covid, unprecedented, furlough, pandemic, lockdown and tiers come to mind, but I will also remember 2020 for words such as collaboration, friendship, people centred, adaption and kindness.

We started the year working face to face, on projects such as our LUSU Inclusive Tennis Training supported by the Dan Maskell Trust and our continued LUSU training courses within the school environment. But things changed in March, and with the first national lockdown due to Covid-19, we were very lucky to have been able to focus on projects with LUSU Sports which were people centred and with the aim to make a difference. We were involved in some great projects, we adapted and experimented with a new type of delivery, and with the common link of collaborating with others on our journey, having the outcome at the heart of the project, we got through it and enjoyed it as much as we could.

A couple of project examples from 2020 included:

Active Families – Helping families stay active. A project working with Seashell Trust, our long-term friends and family, who allowed us the flexibility and opportunity to challenge, test, learn, and then adapt our Families Product. This project reached out to families within the Local Delivery Pilot in Stockport and created new friendships, new adaptive ways of communicating and delivering via various IT and social media platforms including Zoom, You Tube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter to name a few and we were blown away by the results of the programme.

Lesson Learnt: Putting the child or young person with a disability at the heart and providing a programme which has trained and motivated the family to become activators at home, has shown that together, activity can be fun, (not scary), can be put into daily routine, is accessible regardless of level or ability and can benefit the whole family in many ways.

Sense – Activity Videos Collaborating with the National Charity Sense, created a new understanding of breaking down activity into micro steps and achievable units and the use of IT for filming, placing ourselves in front of the camera with no place to hide. Sue was up for this challenge and created 6 videos, which led the viewers through a series of steps to complete a skill, such as learning to catch. Each were home filmed during lockdown and subtitles and a signer were added by Sense. To view any, please follow the link: Sense Activity You Tube

Lesson Learnt: Adapting, learning on the spot, attention to detail, pushing ourselves out of the comfort zone and saying yes created new friends and new collaborative work to be proud of.

LTA and Mencap As Tennis coaches, we have always used tennis as a vehicle to create activity, increase wellbeing, and we love sharing the sport which not only connected ourselves as friends but has given us so much in our lives.

Some of the work we have contributed to during 2020 included:

  • Creating content for the new coach education qualifications to ensure practice is fully inclusive.
  • Lou becoming a LTA Mentor who has been specially selected and trained in formal mentoring skills with a background in the specialism of population specific expertise (eg female, disability, education). If you are interested, please get in touch. Details about the LTA Mentoring Scheme
  • Creating and delivering an online training course in-conjunction with the work the LTA are doing with Mencap. Providing support and training to the community hub members to enable them to start to deliver tennis within their communities. This took place during the second national lockdown, and again allowed us to use the interactive use of zoom and the power of delivering to you, in your home or hub centre. We enjoyed the challenge of interacting via a screen and creating a tennis court in the living room!
  • We also look forward to our LUSUKit assisting tennis coaches in 2021 as they deliver their sessions.

Lesson Learnt: Sport can be a tremendous vehicle to create new friends, open doors, strengthen partnerships and continue to be the golden thread to kindness.

Sport England – Innovation Open Call We were so pleased to finally announce, that we had been selected by Sport England in their call for Innovative Solutions to support people most affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. We are so proud to be one of the 27 organisations selected for support and we continue to develop, learn and collaborate with others to ensure children / young people with a disability can continue to remain active.

Some useful links include: Ali Donnelly, Sport Englands Executive director for digital, communications and marketing. Innovating in the middle of a pandemic And information about the Innovation Open Call Innovation Open Call

Lesson Learnt: Go for it – there’s nothing to lose when filling in application forms or funding forms. We have learnt so much from the process and continue to learn from other organisations (big and small) and will surround ourselves with people we can continue to learn from and grow as an organisation.

Engine Room – Reconnecting 2020 provided us the opportunity to check in, slow down and reconnect with our friends at the Engine Room. The power of our brand LUSU Sports has been so critical to our development as a small company, especially over the past couple of years. We took this opportunity with both hands, and loved being back with Lesley and Darren at the Engine Room, who took us on a journey and inspired us to get creative and we can’t wait to work with them in 2021 as we update our website and continue to enhance our brand and reputation.

Lesson Learnt; Great to be reconnect, take time for connections and to be creative. Brand is important as it is our values, promise and integrity at the heart of LUSU Sports.

So goodbye to 2020, thank you for the lessons learnt and the opportunities it has thrown us in a time when we all turned on the TV to news of national and international lockdowns and heartache to many. We thank the NHS and all the front workers, and hope we helped in our own small way.

We look forward to working with others to make a difference in 2021 and won’t be taking anything for granted.

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