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COMMUNITY: Football never went away

Great work done by the Community Sports Trust through lockdown

4 July 2020

Football has remained at the heart of communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our clubs and their charities have ensured that all participants, especially the most vulnerable have remained engaged.

We are grateful to our key partners for their continued support throughout this difficult period.

And most importantly, as is the strength of our network, they have also responded to local community needs, with our charities, players, volunteers and fans all stepping up just when their communities needed them the most, going well beyond their normal work to play their part in the response to Covid-19.

Here’s just a snapshot of how they’ve adapted and responded over the past 4 months and continue to do so ...

Bradford City

  • Managed the delivery of daily essentials worth £3,000 to 50 schools in the Bradford District, allowing them to distribute them to vulnerable and in-need families.

 Cambridge United

  • Hot meals cooked & delivered to local families in need working with Cambridge Food Poverty Alliance.
  • Care line opened for over 70’s. This included responding with prescription pick-ups, basic grocery deliveries and just a friendly chat. 
  • Cambridge United Community Sports Trust launched a home schooling ‘Sport in Education’ lessons covering a range of subjects taught in school. 
  • Continuation of Every Player Counts disability programme via weekly Zoom calls.
  • Continuation of the award winning ‘Mind Your Head’ mental health project through online lessons to schools and mental health drop-ins with Cambridgeshire County Council Psychologists for children/parents with concerns over their children’s mental health.
  • Cambridge United commit to free match day ticket for NHS workers when football returns.  

Carlisle United

  • Contacted community programme participants who are most vulnerable.
  • Staff signed up to both NHS and local council volunteering services delivering shopping medicine and other house hold goods to the most vulnerable. Staff have also supported vulnerable people in their own housing areas.
  • Managing the transition University of South Wales students for September 2020.
  • Players pull together to help fund a food bank for the city’s most deprived areas.
  • Manager Chris Beech making regular calls to fans, young and old, to keep the club in touch with its support base.

 Cheltenham Town

  • Supported Gloucestershire Virtual Sports Day for NHS charities.
  • Switched all recruitment online for 16 – 18 Football & Education scholarships.
  • Players ‘braved the shave’ and have raised over £6,000 for charity.

 Colchester United

  • Food Donation Collections and made food donation, free school meals and resources deliveries.
  • Community helpline and counselling service has been set up.

 Crawley Town

  • Regular calls and virtual coffee mornings set up with Extra Time Hubs teams to ensure all are physically & mentally are supported through isolation.
  • NCS Team & Foundation staff started a weekly ‘Quarantine Game’ to provide entertainment in an interactive setting for participants to get involved with on Instagram.
  • Education Team working hard to ensure students have the right resources each week to complete assignments and also reassure parents of the students of their final grades.
  • Crawley Town staff and players have teamed up with principal sponsor, The People’s Pension, to fund four weeks of meals for local NHS staff.

 Crewe Alexandra

  • Hosted Q&A sessions on Zoom for participants and parents with the opportunity to speak to Club Officials including the, David Artell (First Team manager) and players. These have then been shared on YouTube.
  • Principal partner Mornflake Oats are helping heroes on the front lines of the nation’s battle against coronavirus. Rescue pallets of porridge and other oat-based products milled by Cheshire-based Mornflake are being shipped to NHS workers, food banks and vulnerable people across the region.

 Exeter City

  • Became a key partner in Exeter Community Wellbeing. A response service which has been developed by Exeter City Council to support older and vulnerable people who are in urgent need and have been isolated due to coronavirus. A team of five from the Club charity collects and delivers shopping, prescriptions and emergency food parcels to people in need across the city every day.
  • Phone contact maintained with some of the more vulnerable people from community projects. Exeter City manager Matt Taylor pitched in, calling members of the Sporting Memories group to check they have everything they need and players have been calling fans of all ages.
  • Launched a fundraising virtual race called ‘Take 5’. A group of staff and prisoners from HMP Exeter (the Trust’s Twinning Project) took part in the ‘socially distanced’ 5k sponsored run.
  • The Community Trust have provided support to help distribute hand sanitisers to front line workers. 

 Forest Green Rovers

  • Contacted all over-65 season ticket holders and all adults with a season ticket to provide support.
  • Provided virtual welfare support to colleagues in Stroud District Council.
  • Networked with local charities to help with collaborative working, e.g. linking the Grace Network, KidsStuff and HomeStart to provide books for vulnerable families.
  • Helped distribute activity packs in the Forest Green area on behalf of HomeStart.

 Grimsby Town

  • Meal deliveries to Age UK and local primary schools.
  • Club captain, James McKeown was on hand to assist with staff from the Grimsby Town Sport & Education Trust (GTSET) and His Church to provide another large donation to members of staff at Diana Princess of Wales Hospital.

 Leyton Orient

  • Supporting key partner primary schools through provision of coaching online resources promoting partnerships.
  • Study programme delivery for education students.
  • To mark international nurses day, a selection of the Leyton Orient first team players and staff helped prepare, pack and deliver food to the children’s hospice Haven House.

 Macclesfield Town

  • Delivered 1,000 face masks to local care homes.
  • Supported BTEC students with ‘at home’ studies.
  • Welfare call to vulnerable people in the community.
  • Liaised with parents on positive weekly schedules for their child.

Mansfield Town

  • ‘Stay Home Social Club’ virtual quiz and bingo nights launched.
  • Mansfield Town Football Club has sent over 20 cases of cold drinks to respiratory nurses at King’s Mill Hospital, following a recent appeal.
  • Mansfield Town winger CJ Hamilton said he wanted to help people in their time of need and signed up for the NHS volunteer scheme. 

 Morecambe

  • Morecambe Bay NHS Trust Community midwives have been given space in Morecambe FC’s Glove Arena to run antenatal clinics for local women.
  • Players from Morecambe grouped together to help a number of Shrimps non-playing staff who had been furloughed. 

 Newport County

  • BTEC and foundation degree courses have been delivered via Google Classroom and Skype.
  • Zoom calls have been held for mental health & walking football participants.
  • Resources and sports equipment have been delivered to socially isolated young people and those experiencing poor mental health.
  • Representatives from NCAFC helped deliver products donated by TK Maxx to Christchurch Food Bank Centre in Newport.

 Northampton Town

  • Staff deemed as essential in schools and have worked with key workers and vulnerable children throughout.
  • Phone call befriending service set up for older adults and vulnerable people in the community. Weekly calls are being made by community staff as well as special first team manager and player calls. Video messages are also being sent out daily to fans of all ages to provide them with a ‘pick me up’.
  • Mental health phone line developed for teachers.
  • Delivering weekly video calls with around 100 participants from disability programmes to support them whilst at home.
  • Provided free kindles and exercise bands to older adults to help them stay connected and active at home.

 Plymouth Argyle

  • Delivering food parcels and essentials on behalf of Plymouth City Council and undertaking shopping and prescription collections.
  • Calling all fans over age of 70 to see how they are and providing weekly calls for those that require support and providing IPads to the most vulnerable social isolated.
  • Undertaking weekly deliveries travelling to Bristol and back to Plymouth once a week for Provide Foodbank.
  • Donating food to local homeless shelter.
  • The Trust’s #LearnPlaySucceed packs were created and delivered to young people who are in need of extra support.
  • PAFC sell face masks with all profits going to the NHS.

Port Vale

  • Delivery of food and care packages to the local community.
  • Weekly phone calls to most vulnerable community project participants and all PVFC Season ticket holders.
  • Supporting schools with delivery of provision for key worker staff.
  • Club and partner businesses formed a community hub at the stadium.

Salford City

  • Organised donations to community hubs in Salford, provided by commercial partners.
  • Organised the production of PPE and delivered to local hospital.
  • Delivered free online health and wellbeing activities.

 Scunthorpe United

  • Delivered online reading sessions with our partner schools.
  • Delivered sessions in the schools open for key workers.
  • In partnership with CAHMS, developed an online programme called ‘Own Goals’. This targets vulnerable young people under the age of 18, who may be suffering from mental health issues.

Stevenage

  • Created a Community Care line – Friendly Chat / Community Kitchen / Community Errands / Food Bank Support.
  • Community Careline Sandwich Service hits 10,000 landmark. 
  • Food bank support has included supporting the homeless during this period in a number of ways. 
  • Created key messaging from Public Health Hertfordshire on football club branding to assist with communicating those key messages to our younger demographic.
  • Set up a Virtual Running Club using the app Strava to engage fans in physical activity along with creating engagement with first team players and staff to a common cause.

Swindon Town

  • A COVID-19 app has been created which contains content supporting education, physical activity and mental health services.
  • Throughout the lockdown period, the Foundation has been in regular communication with their vulnerable groups including Extra Time (over 60’s), Mental Health and Disability groups, offering them support with any essential needs.
  • A care hotline was set up to assist with the collection of shopping, picking up prescriptions/medication, dog walking and for someone to speak to.
  • Zoom group meetings set up with the different teams that we run, including the Girls Centre of Excellence squads, DS Active players and also our Education teams.
  • Partnered with Swindon Borough Council and furloughed staff have volunteered with supporting the council health and well-being team with the task of delivering food parcels to vulnerable people in the community.

Walsall

  • Walsall FC Community Programme delivered a PPE to staff at Fair Oaks Day Hospice and Walsall Palliative Care Centre in Bloxwich including 400 protective face shields that will help in the centre’s fight against COVID-19.
  • The Club donated stock of food and drinks to Acorns Children’s Hospice. The donation included a variety of drinks, crisps and snacks that was collected from the Banks’s Stadium by Acorns volunteers to be distributed to families in need around the area. A message from the first team physio on how to stay fit.

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