Supporting club members during lockdown

Posted by Jane Thompson on 17/04/2020

All over the country, club life has ground to a halt as huts are closed and meets are cancelled. But many clubs are pulling together to look out for one another and showing that social distancing doesn’t have to mean social isolation.

We want to share lots of ways that clubs are staying in touch with their members so that other clubs can benefit.  If your club has some great tips that you are happy to share please post them in the comments box at the bottom of this page or email them to jane@thebmc.co.uk.

In the article members of Southampton University Mountaineering Club share their experiences and top tips for supporting their members through these strange times……

 

As we enter weeks of isolation, daily life has changed drastically and so has the role of our club.  Where we were supporting our members in finding their adventures outdoors, we now find ourselves supporting our members through a difficult time indoors.  Southampton University Mountaineering Club is nothing without our members and we wanted to share some of the things we’ve done as a club, and as individuals, to help them at this time.

 

The “SUMC Coronavirus Watch” Facebook Group

Early on in the outbreak one of our members created a separate Facebook group specifically for the outbreak.  This gave members a space to discuss the virus and being in isolation whilst not overwhelming our main group with virus-related content.

You’re likely to have an idea of who might be more vulnerable during this time: people living alone, with family abroad or other specific circumstances.  We’ve made an effort as a whole to keep an open and supportive environment where people can ask for help.  When people have become ill and placed themselves in self-isolation, we have been making sure that there are opportunities for them to socialise and made them aware that others are available to do their food shopping or pick up prescriptions for them.

 

Keeping the Club Social

We’ve also made efforts to keep the club social.  For example, we’ve created a club Discord, which is a platform that allows our members to chat using text or voice, meaning they can instantly connect with others and reduce feelings of loneliness.  We also regularly organise playing online games, such as Minecraft and TableTopSimulator, to alleviate boredom and to help people connect over something tangible.

 

Updates and Signposting

There’s a lot of information for people to digest at the moment. We’ve made an effort as a committee to try and condense information that’s pertinent to our members into an announcement on our social media.  This includes information from our university, Student’s Union, UKC and the BMC, as well as other reputable sources.  For us, that has meant sharing information about building closures, insurance validity and more.

This announcement post has also served as a place to signpost people to the available help.  This includes links to support pages from the NHS and university, as well as our own social platforms, like the Coronavirus Watch group and our Discord server.

 

Staying Strong and Psyched

Various training programmes and workout videos have been shared on our Facebook groups.  Our members have even produced videos demonstrating different exercises from their own climbing workout plans.  We have also been participating in many of the social exercise memes going round (like the “see 10 do 10” press-up challenge) and encouraging our members to get involved.  Many of our members have taken the opportunity to get some DIY work done and have been sharing their stories of fashioning various fingerboards, crimp rails and even mini bouldering walls from recycled and reclaimed materials.

To help inspire members and keep psych high, a large index of online climbing movies, videos and learning material has been put together.  The aim being to help members to stay keen to get back on the rock after the severity of the current situation begins to subside.  By sharing instructional material and videos, members can use their spare time to get familiar with or to maintain competency with skills or techniques which they may otherwise not use for some time.

 

Looking Forward

We’re coming up to a time where most student clubs will be handing over from one committee to the next.  We’ve started to organise ways to achieve this remotely and delayed non-urgent items to later dates.  It’s important to make sure this process happens so that the club will not be disadvantaged in the long term.  We’ve used Vevox to run voting at our AGM before, and it would work well as a remote solution too.

We know that many outdoor instructors might be struggling at the moment and, as per the BMC’s advice, we’ll be moving any of our bookings to a later date.  This both supports the instructors, but also gives our members something to look forward to.  We have also reached agreements with huts to move our booking deposits to a later date rather than cancel.

 

We hope sharing our solutions with you might help if your club is struggling through this time.  It’s been weird to have to change how we all interact overnight, but we hope by doing so we’ve made life a little bit easier for everyone in our membership.

 

Next Steps for clubs

If you’re on a student club committee, and have questions, ideas or just want to find out how other clubs are handling lockdown, join the BMC Student Clubs Officers Group on Facebook and let's help each other out!

Check out our other covid-19 related articles for clubs and huts HERE

All clubs can get further support from Jane Thompson, BMC Clubs, Huts & Volunteers Officer, jane@thebmc.co.uk

 

If there are other activities that are working in your club please either email Jane or post in the comments below.


More FAQs about the BMC and Covid-19

🌳 Can I start climbing / hillwalking? Yes, but be cautious in your actions, respectful of local communities and vigilant in avoiding transmitting the virus. Read our latest advice for July here and for the general return to climbing here

🌳 What's the situation in Wales? Read the full July update here

😷 When and how will the walls reopen?  In England it's July 25th Read the ABC's advice for walls and watch their live update here

✈️ Can I now travel abroad again? Get the latest answers to going abroad with travel restrictions now easing

🛒 Is the BMC shop open? Yes - we officially reopened at the start of July!

🏡 Do you have any advice for clubs and huts? The latest club huts update and all you need to know

📜 Will the BMC keep running smoothly? Read more or watch our weekly live updates from our CEO

🚗 What have the BMC access team been doing during this time? Read on

As the climbing walls, crags and mountains start to open, we wanted to say thanks to every BMC member who supported us through the Coronavirus crisis.

From weekly Facebook Lives and GB Climbing home training videos, to our access team working to re-open the crags and fight for your mountain access, we couldn’t have made it without you.

If you liked what we did, then tell your friends about us: www.thebmc.co.uk/join


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