The Shropshire Homes School Sport Festival, which involves hundreds of young people from the county’s primary schools, is to go ahead as a ‘virtual’ event this summer.
Up to 1,000 young people were due to have been descending on Shrewsbury Sports Village at the end of June for the climax of the showpiece event.
But the Covid-19 lockdown has forced the organisers, Active Partnership Energize, into a change of plan.
Instead, working with the county’s six School Games Organisers, a new six-week ‘Virtual School Games’ competition will officially kick off on May 18, culminating in the Shropshire Homes Virtual School Games Celebration Week starting on June 29.
Energize chief executive Chris Child explained: “We know how much primary schools look forward to the Shropshire Homes School Sport Festival, so we were determined to find a solution.
“Encouraging exercise, and helping people to stay active, has never been more important during the Covid-19 lockdown, so we sat down with our team of School Games organisers to reshape the event.”
So how exactly is the virtual festival going to work?
Over the course of the six-week schedule, six different activity challenges will be launched – dodgeball, new-age kurling, athletics, boccia, tennis and cricket.
Children will be asked to submit either photographs or videos of them performing some of the challenges which would have featured in the original festival itinerary.
Details will be posted on the Energize website, as well as its Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts using the #virtualstwschoolgames hashtag.
Primary schools across Shropshire, and Telford & Wrekin, will receive more details by email this week.
Energize will be bringing together a judging panel to decide the winners, and a compilation video featuring the event’s highlights will also be produced.
Jake Jones, Energize’s active lives officer, said: “The idea is to create fun activities and competition for those in school and at home over the coming weeks . . . while helping teachers and families to keep children active, and connected with their schools.
“Traditionally, we always hold an opening and closing ceremony for the games, giving young people chance to showcase their performing talents – and this year is no different.
“So, we would like any primary school pupil, or group of pupils keen to be a part of the ceremonies to send in videos of their performances any time before the deadline of Friday 19th June.”
All entries, videos and photographs should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Energize says it is constantly monitoring the latest Government advice relating to Covid-19, and will make any necessary changes to ensure the games remain within the latest guidelines.
For more details about the School Games programme, see the Energize website, www.energizestw.org.uk.