Bedfordshire's PCC teams up with YouTuber to provide online activities for young people during coronavirus pandemic

The YouTube sessions plan to offer activities such as Boxercise, Yoga, Pilates, Street Dance, Arts and Crafts and Cookery

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, is working with a YouTuber to produce free online activities for young people throughout the county during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Competitive bodybuilder and fitness instructor James Campbell, plans to deliver daily fitness training sessions and will be heading up the James Campbell Collective, which will work with fellow instructors and activity leaders to provide online content for 10 to 25-year-olds across Bedfordshire.

The YouTube sessions plan to offer activities such as Boxercise, Yoga, Pilates, Street Dance, Arts and Crafts and Cookery, which can be enjoyed from home, as well as offering lifestyle advice tailored to the needs of the age group.

Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway

The Bedfordshire PCC is actively looking for instructors who are ideally 25 and under to deliver sessions and wants them to send her office a video over the next fortnight as well as make an application for a grant to show what they can deliver in these areas or any others that they know appeal to this age group.

Her office will help those who have not applied for a grant before to do so.

She said: "I very much wanted to fund something that could occupy young people during both lockdown and the school holidays - whichever is the longer - and to invite young instructors to deliver activities which might inspire them to take up an interest long term which might even lead to a job, just as I understand weight-lifting and bodybuilding has done for James, as he started when he was 15.

"I’m incredibly grateful to him for agreeing to head up The James Campbell Collective delivering as many different types of activities online via YouTube as possible.

"We now need to see what others like him could do, through a sample video or their existing YouTube and Instagram presences if they include video.

"It’s really important that the inspiration and the teaching is from young people to young people as frankly I can’t imagine anything less on trend than me as a PCC trying to get them involved although my heart is in the right place!

"James is exactly the right person to inspire others of his own age and younger because what he has achieved in both his working life and in his physique at 20 have come entirely through his own motivation."

James started his fitness journey when he was 15, and now, at the age of 20, is a competitive bodybuilder, which he credits to giving him a positive direction in life.

He said: "I know how first weight-lifting then work in the leisure industry and now body-building have given me a real focus in life and led to a career. Bodybuilding is gaining a huge following in my generation.

"The pandemic has moved my work online, but I believe I can offer more to young people who are living through a time of great stress, anxiety and absence from friends and who might use this isolation to make life choices that could change their lives for the worse.

"I would like the opportunity to help them do the opposite by delivering daily fitness and body building sessions online, plus lifestyle advice which will perhaps spark an interest, or even a pathway, into future work as it has done for me.

"This opportunity to head up a whole range of activities to inspire other young people has come up and I’ve always had a keen interest in video, photography and graphics too so combining the work for The James Campbell Collective and my YouTube channel as well as linking the activities other people provide together in a video is right up my street."

James’ own fitness and lifestyle videos can be seen at www.instagram.com/jamescampbellfit, his sessions will not require any specialist equipment although a fitness mat may help.

He added: "People can’t get to a gym at the moment but, as some of my existing YouTube sessions use things like a chair instead of fitness equipment, the aim is to make this as accessible as possible for everyone."

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) is encouraging applications to the Covid-19 Fund that will deliver content remotely to support young people via YouTube, between May and September.

Course leaders need to be available to deliver a live session at an agreed time Monday to Friday during both term time and the school holidays.

The OPCC will be working with partner agencies to promote the work of The James Campbell Collective to spread the word and connect with individual young people who might benefit from this investment in their wellbeing.

A Just Giving page - www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/Bedfordshirecovid-19fund - has been set up to allow members of the public or local businesses to donate funds to buy materials to allow young people to join in even when living away from their homes, for example if in emergency accommodation as a result of having to leave a home where there has been Domestic Abuse. These could range from exercise mats to cookery kits and art materials, depending on the activity.

Due to the emerging need to provide support for young people as soon as possible during this crisis, the Covid-19 Fund will be open to applications for two weeks only, closing at 9.30am on Wednesday, April 22 April.

This will enable the OPCC to allocate funds to successful applicants so they can start producing content as soon as possible.

Any funds allocated to organisations or charities will need to be spent between May and September 2020.

Applications need to comply with the Government’s Covid-19 measures around social distancing.

For more information and to apply, visit www.bedfordshire.pcc.police.uk/covid-19fund and download the Bedfordshire OPCC Covid-19 Fund Application Form, which will need to be completed and sent via email to [email protected] by 9.30am Wednesday 22 April 2020.