Yesterday 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 protocols 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 4 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, the Hon Steven Linares, is 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. 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.