Next week marks the second anniversary of the day when our world changed forever.

On Monday, March 23rd, 2020, when our country went into lockdown, our charity was faced with two choices, buckle under the pressure of losing sight of £250k in donations and funding, or work together, harness our passion and skills, and write a different story.

Like many other charities, filled with incredible staff and amazing volunteers, we chose to write a different story.

Bath Rugby Foundation had a relatively short period where ‘survival’ was front and centre, and we concentrated on reducing our costs, limiting risks, and maximising revenues. We knew the children and young people of Bath would need even more support, because although we couldn’t even begin to predict the economic fall-out, what we knew for sure was charities were going to be called on to do more with less.

We communicated with everyone with a stake in our charity, brought like-minded groups together online, and determinedly moved with renewed purpose into a ‘revival’ stage.

Summer BreakOut was born - six weeks of sport, food, art, crafts, music, and fun.

Bath Rugby Foundation and its partners understood the local landscape. We had been working in this space since 2003. We knew from experience that school holidays were the toughest time for families living on the breadline, where every penny counts, and the pinch from the loss of a term-time free school meal is felt the most. These children often return to school malnourished and ill equipped to learn in the new academic year. Unlike many families who can afford holidays and summer sports camps, these youngsters have not experienced a ‘holiday’ but rather one of stress, boredom, and anxiety.

The relationships we formed as a team, and with other like-minded charities and business leaders proved game changing.

Our objectives were to:

  • Reduce isolation for children, young people and families living in areas of deprivation
  • Increase physical activity levels in children, young people, and their families
  • Decrease anxieties for families around food poverty and provide accessible hot meals and a safe community space for communal meals.
  • Provide opportunities to learn about balanced diets and affordable healthy nutrition
  • Increase self-esteem in children, young people, and their families.
  • Develop resilience and social and emotional skills for families and young people to be ‘ready’ their return to school
  • Provide access to income, career and financial guidance and support for parents/guardians 

This was all made possible by the powerful partnerships, collaborations, and courageous conversations with everyone in our community being committed to making Bath and North East Somerset a more equal and fairer place to live.

Two years on, and although we may now be winning the battle with the pandemic, we still aren’t fully clear about the economic fall-out that we could potentially face for generations to come, and just how much the children and young people in our community today will end up paying.

Developing young people creates stronger communities and stronger communities are better for everyone.