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What's your game?

‘What’s My Game’ during the pandemic, a story of juggling kids, being creative and not giving up – Claire’s blog!

My job as a facilitator of What’s My Game in Sheffield has changed radically since the pandemic. Gone are the days of walking the streets talking to people, where my most important skill was the voice and a smile. This has affected the way I connect with residents immensely. In the past, I built relationships by scouring the vicinity – visiting groups, parks and venues – now I have to find other ways to reach a variety of people. Everyone’s stressed, including me. Talking has become something that can potentially kill you.

Although everything has changed, at heart, my role is the same as it used to be. It’s my job to offer residents the opportunity to take part in What’s My Game, and to make the project relevant to them in these challenging times. Long-term, one ambition of the project is to raise personal awareness of fitness and to take responsibility for your own journey. As well as have some fun, of course.

This week I am launching and trying something new. A strategy I haven’t worked on before. I’m excited to see if it works, and, if not, how I could tweak it.

The first thing I do is reach out. In a way, it’s the most important aspect of the process. If I don’t explain myself well enough, people can get the wrong idea about what I’m offering. It’s easier to explain face-to-face, and I have a lifetime of talking and communication experience to draw on.

Since the pandemic, I’ve stuck up posters, advertised in the local newsletter and asked colleagues for referrals. This kind of mass advertising is the opposite to my normal technique of starting with a smile and a chat.

When I struggle for inspiration, I look to my own life for guidance. I am a mother. I’m fit but overweight, probably obese. Like most other parents, I’m working as well as home schooling. I’m stressed. What I don’t need is more stress.

This brings me back to the way I advertise and what I’m offering families, who face the same daily challenges I do, and more besides. I ask myself, what kind of approach would I welcome?

Which brought me back to something that happened last week. My son’s school sent a lovely card through the post inviting us to a parent consultation. It was pretty and personal. It made my day. It made me think about how important it still is to offer an individualised approach. How much we appreciate it when someone takes time.

Straight away I was looking at party invitations, and whether I could utilise the idea of sending personal invitations to families. I could even hand them out to other professionals and colleagues and use instead of referrals.

Simple, isn’t it? 😊

I’m going to send out fifty invites on some lovely cards with drawings of safari animals. This is the kind of thing I have written inside:

Dear family, This is your invitation to take part in a community project!

Are you interested in getting fitter? And have some fun? Don’t worry, safety first. All online/ over the T/C.

Some ideas!! 2 minute dancing. Bear Grylls and the streets of doom! Scooby Doo and the Walking Champion.

I’m sending the 50 invites via a few different ways. Some will be posted to random houses; others will go out with colleagues. I want to look at the most successful ways of reaching people who may not be in touch with professionals or groups already, hence the random postings. I might target specific streets.

When people get in touch, I can tell them more about the project and make it individual.

What I won’t do is give up thinking and trying different techniques.

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