For many, the opening of a local sports club in recent weeks has been a breath of fresh air and a chance to return to a sense of normality.
For coaches and instructors, having to adapt during the lockdown period has presented its range of challenges but there have also been opportunities along the way.
The Budokwai based in Kensington and Chelsea is Europe’s oldest and most prestigious martial arts club, established in 1918. For a club with such rich history, standing the test of time, the implications of Covid-19 have been an experience like no other.
Peter Blewett former British National Champion and all England Champion has been chief instructor at the Budokwai for 34 years.
Commenting on what he’s missed the most about his time away from the dojo he said: “The camaraderie, the warmth and joy of the place. We normally have a footfall of 800 people over the course of the week.
“It’s a lively and vibrant place and the social side has been taken away completely.”
Despite these challenges, the team has used the time proactively to carry out a full renovation of the upstairs dojo and decoration of the entire building.
Mr Blewett said completing the refurbishment has been a massive bonus for the team and carries a huge wow factor for when they are able to welcome back members completely.
Karate has resumed since members have been welcomed back in staggered form with classes at a maximum of 12 and judo related fitness ranging from six to eight members per class.
Children’s classes are currently postponed due to the summer holidays and their absence from the dojo has been sorely missed.
Media director, Lucy Charles added: “It’s definitely part of the children’s routine; toddlers who attend classes and live nearby have come past in their pushchairs and burst into tears when they’re told by their parents that they’re unable to come in and attend normal class.”
Adapting through lockdown was something Total Ballers Academy were quick to adjust to. Owner and head coach of the Battersea based football club Nathaniel Sobers provided a range of online activities to maintain his strong bond with his child members.
New challenge this week❗️Who ever can do the most kick ups and make the ball land in a bucket or a bin. Winner will receive a signed football from a premier league footballer 🏆⚽️😎. Don’t forget to tag us in your videos— Total Ballers Academy (@total_ballers) April 10, 2020
#totalballers #football #challenge #stayathome #fun pic.twitter.com/JC7qLSCiVU
Restricted numbers in sessions are something Mr Sobers has also had to adjust to but he has increased the amount of sessions to ensure as many members are able to return to their beloved weekly football.
He said: “Naturally the limited numbers in sessions are frustrating but we are all just happy to be back out on the pitch again, doing what we love.”
The determination of Mr Sobers and his team to pursue their passion for sport under ever changing circumstances was one mirrored by Amanda Frolich.
As well as being an award-winning celebrity child’s entertainer Mrs Frolich is the CEO of Amanda’s Action Club which helps to encourage younger children to stay active and engage with exercise through play.
Throughout the lockdown period Action Amanda has provided online Facebook and Zoom sessions for pre-school children consisting of singing and dance exercises. The classes have filled children across London with a sense of joy and excitement from their living rooms and something to jump out of bed for each morning.
Mrs Frolich has been over the moon with the response from children who have taken part in the classes and explained how the lockdown restrictions were never going to prevent her from doing what she loves most.
She said: “Without children in my world, there is no world.
“ I was really worried with how the children would react to the online sessions at first but if you have someone who is engaging and gives it their all its amazing the bond you are able to grow.”
Nicky Newport and mother of two added: “ Amanda is a true role model for my daughter who copies her every action. She’ll correct her dad when we as the parents get involved and makes sure we’re copying Amanda exactly!”
As lockdown restrictions have gradually eased Action Amanda have been able to return to outside lessons and provide children with a sense of a return to physical fun with their friends, whilst respecting social distancing measures.
The future of community sports and exercise remains uncertain with the increasing possibility of a second wave of Covid-19. However, one thing that is clear to see is that the optimism and innovation of coaches and instructors will ensure engaging, active exercise and sports will be provided for communities no matter what the altered circumstances.