In response to COVID restrictions that curtailed Reclink Australia’s sport and recreation activities that support disadvantaged communities, they created Reclink Connect as a means of maintaining connections, checking on welfare, providing ideas and motivation for their participants to remain active. Reclink Connect consists of the following 6 elements;
To date, they have delivered over 600 Sports Share packs to agencies and individuals containing new and used sports equipment that was either donated or purchased through paid donations. They have also delivered over 400 re-purposed bicycles as a COVID safe form of exercise. Their social media has reached over 50,000 people and is now a part of the regular delivery of Reclink Connect activities through Facebook, YouTube and other platforms.
Before COVID-19, Reclink's delivery model was based on face to face interaction with participants, either with their sport and recreation coordinators, with member agency staff or with contractors/facilitators that conduct activities. Their activities were conducted in greenspaces and indoor facilities.
COVID-19 removed all face to face delivery, and even when restrictions were relaxed, indoor facilities were still not accessible. Their programs and activities are designed to reduce isolation and to enable connections to other individuals, and the community support agencies that work with people experiencing disadvantage.
With a need to continue to support their participants and member agencies, they developed a model to maintain connections and keep people active, engaged and supported.
The move to Reclink Connect was prompted by:
Their target was to reach as many participants as they could. Unfortunately, many of their participants maintain a certain level of anonymity and caution over providing contact details, making it challenging to reach everybody directly. Reclink worked directly with member agencies to “spread the word” and facilitate connections.
Social media has been a significant platform to drive engagement when one on one conversation via phone, text or email were not possible.
The reach and integration through social media have been their primary measure of effectiveness. Reclink received a significant level of anecdotal feedback acknowledging the positives of the Reclink Connect effort, including: