After spending the majority of the pandemic being placed on furlough, Doncaster Triathlon Club’s Ian Samson and his wife set up a club bingo and quiz night to bring together the community for a relaxed evening of family fun and games.
“I have been furloughed since March 2020, so pretty much the full lockdown cycle. I am a chef and work for a London based company so have been massively impacted as you can imagine,” said Ian.
“Mentally it’s tough. I did Outlaw X in September so trained as much as possible last year for that. I have to say training kept me sane, we have a turbo trainer in the office, and I ran for my allotted exercise time and cycled indoors.”
Ian recognised the important role that the club can play in keeping people mentally and physically active throughout the lockdowns after it helped him through a difficult period. In between the first and second lockdowns, the club were able to hold open water swimming sessions which gave many members, including Ian, a huge boost.
“I could swim open water a couple of times a week with my family which was fantastic and kept a bit of hope for everyone,” he commented. “As a club, 2020 was pretty much a wash out in terms of club activity. A lot of our members work for the NHS so they were busy, and I think everyone just wanted to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic in their own way.”
Doncaster Tri Club has maintained a consistent membership throughout the pandemic despite Ian believing that many people would put club life on hold throughout the lockdown, saying: “We all pretty much follow each other on Strava or other social media platforms and kept in touch with people that way.
“When the last easing was in place and we could do track running sessions, we actually had a better uptake than before the pandemic hit. It made people realise just how much they took some things for granted.”
Aside from the physical activity, Ian also ensured that members had a way to overcome the social isolation caused by the Covid-19 lockdowns, saying: “We did bingo nights and quizzes with family during lockdown and knew people loved it so thought we would try it with the club members.
“The idea came from my wife who is the joint club social secretary. She sent out Teams invitations and posted bingo cards to the people that said yes, and I downloaded a bingo number generator app to my phone and formatted the quiz on PowerPoint.”
Club members welcomed the bingo and quiz night with open arms, dressing up in their club gear as well as a variety of fancy dress costumes, with Ian donning a kilt and shirt and tie as he assumed the role of host.
“It went down really well. We got messages from everyone to say how much they enjoyed it and it was agreed that there will be another,” Ian said.
“I think it’s important to stay in touch. Some people engage, some don't, but it’s good to reach out to everyone and ask. I think the lesson I have learned from lockdown is that everyone sees and deals with this situation differently and it’s important to understand that and respect their view.”