Free packs get lockdown kids back on the ball
Sports equipment is sent out by academy to keep youngsters active
14 January, 2021 — By Steve Barnett
Nine-year-old Adam Rahman and his brother Dheen, 11, who are from Camden Town, show off their sports packs from Pro Touch SA
A DRIVE to ensure disadvantaged children across Camden, Islington and Westminster have the sports equipment they need to stay active during the latest lockdown is back with a bang.
Last spring coaches from Pro Touch SA handed out more than 250 sports bundles in a bid to help tackle some of the mental and physical health issues caused by the coronavirus outbreak, and the restrictions that came with it.
The sports starter packs included a football, training cones, a skipping rope, a drinks bottle, a notepad and pen, and even a medal.
There was also a “We Stand for Equality” T-shirt to “celebrate the diversity in the communities” that Pro Touch work within.
And the good news is, now there are more goody bags up for grabs.
“We’ve got almost 100 new bundles ready to go out, but if the demand and need is there we will give away even more packs than we did last year,” revealed Pro Touch founder Ash Rahman.
Danna Paz Bermudez
“It’s really important to us to be able to reach out to our local communities and offer whatever support we can.
“The feedback we received after handing out the sports packs during the first lockdown back in April was tremendous.
“As soon as grassroots sport was suspended again, we knew we had to spring back into action.”
Pro Touch was launched as an elite football academy in 2006, but has since evolved. It now also runs a wide range of multi-sports schemes across the capital, the majority of which are delivered for free.
Like a number of local sports clubs they also ran free daily online activities last year to help lift the boredom of lockdown and anxieties brought about by the social-distancing rules.
They proved so popular that Pro Touch have now brought back two sessions every Monday, which will stay in place even when the current lockdown ends.
The sessions are supported by the London Community Response Fund, which provides coordinated funding to support groups responding to the needs of communities in the capital affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ismail Chowdhury, 11, from Holborn, with his sports pack
“We run a free session for Under-16s between 7pm-8pm, and then a session for Over-16s with special education needs between 8pm and 9pm.” Ash added.
“They’re great fun. We do football and fitness drills, share banter, listen to music and play quizzes. We even have a raffle. So far we’ve given out over £250 in vouchers for JD Sports.”
Dheen Rahman, 11, who shared a sports pack with his younger brother Adam, aged nine, said: “The pandemic has stopped a lot of academies, but Pro Touch has managed to continue.
“Their online sessions, which have included practising ball control, fitness and core-strength drills, have been really good, and really helped tackle the boredom of lockdown.”
Danna Paz Bermudez, aged 9, who lives in Swiss Cottage, is also enjoying being more active during lockdown.
She said: “Thank you Pro Touch for giving me an opportunity to be in the sessions, they are really helping me to improve my football skills and have encouraged me a lot.”
To apply for a free sports pack, or for further details about taking part in the free online sports sessions on Mondays, email firstname.lastname@example.org