A sports-based charity in Grantham has continued to adapt to serve local schools and promote the physical and mental well-being of young people.
Inspire + won the Business Innovation category at this year’s Grantham Journal Business Awards.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the Inspire + team excelled in delivering virtual classes that championed good mental and physical health.
The charity also introduced Move and Food clubs in Grantham, which provided supplies during school holidays for children from underprivileged backgrounds to receive a fresh, hot and healthy meal each day and an activity club to which to participate.
Chris Graves, COO at Inspire +, explained what the award means for the team and described the changes the association has made over the past year.
How did you feel about winning the award after another difficult year?
A fantastic feeling to receive recognition from professionals. As a charity, of course we need to operate like a business, but above all we need to make sure we are supporting our schools and the local community. Everyone has adapted during the Covid pandemic, so receiving recognition for our innovation from business experts is very special.
Why do you think you stood out among the judges?
Each finalist for the Business Awards was a worthy winner and very difficult to separate. Hopefully the fact that our innovations have developed the services we offer and that we continue to do so after Covid.
Tell us a bit about what you guys do?
Everything we do is first and foremost for the benefit of the lives of young people. We offer apprenticeship programs for young people who are considering a career in school education or athletic training. We have a fantastic “army” of 400 high school volunteers who help organize elementary festivals and support local events.
We have provided services to schools supporting the health, physical activity and well-being of youth and school staff. We also run community clubs, including free mid-term move & food clubs for children from underprivileged backgrounds to enable them to attend a daily entertainment and games club with a freshly cooked hot meal. every day.
What changes have you made in the past year?
We have been able to render all of our services virtual when required by government requirements or at the request of schools.
This allowed schools, children and families to continue to access our programs supporting their health and well-being. New digital ways of working have made it possible to increase capacity without losing the quality of our offer.
What accomplishments / projects have you had during the past year?
The launch of our move & food project to support vulnerable families during school holidays. These are now operating in Grantham, Stamford, Spalding and Long Sutton.
We have 98 apprentices on the program, based in schools, supporting the implementation of their schools’ physical education program. Last year’s mini-Olympics were the 2nd virtual event and saw all the groups from the year participate. Over 60 hours of viewing the challenge videos took place as everyone got involved.
After staying in touch with our athletic leadership academy during lockdown to support their own well-being, in September we were able to revive a new cohort of grade 9 and 10 students.
What are your plans for the coming year?
Expand our community moving and dining clubs to provide free service to as many families as possible in our area. Expand the learning offer to include a level 2, level 3 and level 4 qualification as well as an active wrap-around care qualification to support staff providing childcare outside of working hours.
How did your staff / team overcome the challenges?
The Inspire + team have been fantastic. When school guidelines or requirements changed, whatever the last minute, they stepped up to ensure that needs were met for the benefit of young people. We don’t have an IT expert on the team, but everyone has gone out of their comfort zone to virtually facilitate and make the sessions as fun and interactive as possible.
Of course, the work we do with our schools could not be achieved without the support and dedication of school staff to enable their children to access initiatives and make the most of their impact.