Nottingham Touch- adapting during Covid-19

Founded in 2011, Nottingham Touch rugby club has doubled in size in less than 10 years and now has around 100 members. Their membership appeals to players from across Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire and also as far as Birmingham and Sheffield.

When the official lockdown commenced in March, it would mean that the club would have to immediately suspend all activities and tournaments. Nikola Halse (Club chair) explains how they've been working through this unusual time and keeping their members engaged.

What has changed since the lockdown announcement?

Our season officially began on 14th March, we played a tournament in London. By week commencing 16th March all our Nottingham touch activities were suspended ahead of the official lockdown. We stopped at that point to ensure our members, their families and our wider community was not put in unnecessary danger.

Like so many other clubs, lockdown has prevented the core reason for our existence. Our ambition to win the Elite National Touch Series is on hold until the season begins. All our preparation for this season is on hold. It will be important therefore to be able to keep our members engaged, fit and healthy (mentally and physically) for when we do finally resume playing touch. When we do resume, we want to pick up where we paused. However, friendships and socialising are also key components of our Club.

How have you adapted to the new situation?

We have focused on socialising and fitness, taking these activities online and helping members to keep in touch. We offer bi-weekly online high intensity interval training sessions where we all log-in and train together but in the comfort of our homes. England Touch are running a series of CPD courses, for any of our members we will subside the attendance fee. We run bi-weekly quizzes, the role of quiz master being rotated by the previous quiz winner.

How are you keeping members engaged and why has this been important?

Using social media platforms, we continue to engage with each other to keep in touch, play games have a joke and a laugh. One of the pleasing outcomes from lockdown already is that having the online quiz has enabled the Club to include the juniors into more social activities. It's also been great to see how we a really are one big touch family, our members do really care and support for each other.

Keeping engaged

The club has been adapting and utilising all the tools available to them to help keep their members engaged. They have kept busy by doing some of the following things:

  • creating a video between members of them catching a ball which will be made into a collage
  • holding their Executive and General Committee meetings online – via Zoom and Teams.
  • supporting the 2.6 Challenge and sharing their attempts on social media
  • periodically posting games and challenges on their members whatsapp group just to keep everyone engaged.
  • hosting 3 quizzes, bi-weekly.

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