Being wise rather than smart might help your club, group or organisation recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Smart ~ having or showing a quick-witted intelligence.

Wise ~ having or showing experience, knowledge, and good judgement.

 

It feels good that restrictions have lifted slightly doesn’t it? Last week I took the opportunity to grab a coffee with a friend and we headed to a nearby park. As we enter the park, there’s a person, I would say in their early 70’s heading towards us. I noticed them initially because they had iPhone earphones in their ears and I thought to myself what a cool older person, I’m not sure my grandparents are that tech savvy. As we get closer, they say to us ‘I’m trying to listen to my music but there’s this ringing noise in the background, can you help me?’ After a quick look at their phone, we realise they have accidentally set a timer and it’s interrupting their tunes. My friend turns off the timer, they thank us and we all get on with our day. Since this interaction, I’ve had two reflections;

  1. This person is probably a little bit of an anomaly in a few ways. They were tech savvy (sort of), they felt confident enough to be outside and they were in good enough health to be able to take advantage of the good weather and be active.
  2. I should have asked to take a photo of them, so I could submit it to my fave Instagram account called @Gramparents, it’s an account filled with posts of cool grandparents and older people. It probably would have been a bit weird to take a photo of them though, but do follow that account if you’re on Insta…You won’t regret it.

 

You might not think my first reflection is particularly ground breaking, but if you have read my colleague Chris Gregory’s recent blog post you will know that adults in later life (those aged 65+) are one of the demographics most affected by Covid-19. The impact of covid restrictions on adults in later life

As Chris highlights in his post, we have approximately 130,000 adults in later life based in Bucks & MK, that’s roughly 16% of our county population.

Why does this statistic stick in my head? In the first few months of 2021, I’ve had lots of conversations with clubs, groups and organisations across Bucks & MK and when talking about what would help them recover & reinvent, increasing membership always comes up in conversation.

When I ask what audience they are thinking of targeting, I would say around 80 – 90% of those I have spoken to mention the same demographic, children & young people. It’s a smart choice; there are approximately 198,367 children and young people based in Bucks & MK (24.5% of or county population). It’s important for me be crystal clear here, there is no doubt that children and young people need to be a priority audience when it comes to movement, physical activity and sport over the coming years as they have been hugely effected by the Covid pandemic too.

However, children & young people may not be the wise target audience for your club, group, and organisation if they are not a demographic you are already working with. Movement, physical activity and sport for children and young people is competitive, political and I would argue the market is saturated, there’s lots of people & organisations fighting for a slice of that pie.

Maybe a decision based on good judgement is to make adults in later life your priority demographic? They are largely an untapped audience by physical activity clubs, groups & organisations and we need to ensure we have a range of fun, safe and suitable community activity that supports adults in later life to build up their strength and balance and emotional resilience over the summer months supporting their reconditioning following the pandemic.

What do you think? Hopefully this has provided you some food for thought. If you’re a club, group or organisation interested in being part of the recovery movement to engage adults in later life in low to moderate intensity activities please get in touch (sfenlon@leapwithus.org.uk). Together we can help to improve lives for older adults who have been most affected by Covid-19 across Bucks & MK.

Thanks for reading,

Shay