In February of this year, like a lot of other small businesses, COVID-19 and lockdown restrictions hit us hard. Most, if not all of our face to face delivery disappeared over night and we had to cancel all of our upcoming events including our highly anticipated Boccia Open. However, every cloud has a silver lining as they say and in late March, we launched our new Borrow a SMILE scheme. Its aim was simple, to provide sport and physical activity to care homes and individuals during the lockdown period.
We initially started with only 7 different sport and activity boxes including boccia, kurling and athletics. The scheme proved extremely popular with Wellburn, HC-one, Care UK and Four Seasons care homes enjoying the boxes. During this short space of time we have seen a great deal of feedback from those using the boxes such as:
‘Our residents always enjoy your sessions and during this time of restrictive visiting we wanted to still keep them as active as possible. It also gives them more to talk about with their families. As well as building relationships between residents as we have a few new ones, even residents who don’t often join in are often prepared to give Boccia a go and from an Activity Coordinator perspective that is great to see. It is stimulating them mentally and physically thus promoting all round better emotional well-being’ – Angela – The Oaks Care Home, Blyth
‘Our residents use the activities every day. We look forward to a new box every Monday.’ – Glynis – Northlea Care Home, Cramlington.
We are extremely excited to announce that with the help of some external funding from, Tesco Bags of Help, Persimmon Community Champions and Active Kids Foundation, our Borrow a SMILE Scheme is now bigger and better, and will be around long after the COVID-19 pandemic. We are now able to offer 40 different boxes of sport and activities, meaning we could provide you with 40 weeks of sport. In addition to the extra boxes we are now able to offer this scheme to care homes, community groups, families and shielding individuals. We are also able to reach people further afield as people from Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham and Tees Valley are all now able to access this scheme.
Everyone at SMILE Through Sport are extremely proud of how far this scheme has come in such a short space of time and we cannot wait to see where this goes. We would like to take this time to thank those at Tesco Bags of Help, Persimmon Community Champions and Active Kids Foundation for their support of this scheme. Your help and support really has gone a long way to help us make this bigger and better.