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Stay and Play programme starts despite Covid-19

This Monday saw the start of the Gibraltar Sports and Leisure Authority’s (GSLA) Stay and Play programme for children with disabilities.

After conducting an extensive, in-depth exercise, the GSLA Sports Development Unit produced a model that would allow the programme to run whilst meeting strict Covid-19 protocols and guidelines.

Social distancing measures similar to those implemented in the health care sector have been incorporated in the delivery of the sessions.

These include extremely strict rules on sanitation and temperature screening to provide as safe an environment as possible, with all leaders included in the testing pool to provide peace of mind for both parents and staff.

Social bubbles have been created by appointing leaders to children for the entire length of the programme.

This will provide resilience and ensures that if a positive case were to be reported only one group would be affected, allowing the rest of the programme to continue uninterrupted.

Stay and Play will be delivered at four sites on a daily basis, with two groups at the Bayside Sports Complex Boathouse Activity Centre and the remaining three groups at the GSLA Accessible Pool, King’s Bastion Leisure Centre and the Alameda Gardens respectively.

The Minister for Sport, Steven Linares, is understood to be ecstatic at the fact that the Stay and Play programme has been able to go ahead.

“Lockdown has been extremely hard on the community in general but for some it has been harder than for others,” Mr Linares said.

“This is true for those children who would normally attend the programme and not being able to access the Stay and Play scheme would just compound the issues for not only the children but for parents and their extended families also.”

“The GSLA’s Sport Development Unit was adamant that they would find a way to deliver the scheme within Public Health guidelines.”

“The fact that the programme started yesterday is a testament to their hard work and perseverance for which I am extremely grateful. Initial reports from the first day are extremely positive and the new arrangements will be closely monitored as they could become a permanent feature in how the programme is organised and delivered in future.”

The Stay and Play programme has proceeded, although the annual Summer sports and leisure programme organised annually by the GSLA was cancelled due to the present public health emergency.

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, whilst announcing that sport was entering phase six of the Unlock the Rock roadmap with small-sided games now allowed, also indicated that he had not wished to see the Stay and Play programme be a “victim” of the decision to not provide the annual sports programme.

Whilst the main summer sports programme has been halted, the focuses now falls on sports associations, some of which have their own summer camps planned for this summer.

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