Over the last 20 months football has played a vital part in helping communities cope with the stress of the pandemic.
National League Clubs and their charities have been involved in many local initiatives to help alleviate the impact of lockdown and restrictions. They have continued to deliver activities and support partners through this difficult time. Over the weekend of the 12th to 14th November, the NLT and the League are celebrating their contribution.
When lockdown hit Guiseley Community Foundation (GCF) had to rapidly adapt their way of working as the schools care homes and day centres with whom they worked had to close their doors.
GCF decided that it had to go out in to the community and offer help where it was needed and it quickly became apparent that this help should predominantly be with the elderly and disabled in our area as these people were the most isolated due to shielding and had little or no access to technology.
One member of staff, Connor Thompson, worked very closely with our partner, Aireborough Children’s Centre who were inundated with requests for food and hygiene parcels, from those unable to access supermarkets during the lockdown. Connor collected the food from local supermarkets, assisted in making up the parcels and delivered them throughout our local area.
Connor also began a Pharmacy collection and delivery, assisting people in the community to have continued access to medication that they urgently required. As the pandemic continued Connor also helped with gardening and door step deliveries to those most isolated and member of the NHS.
Another member of staff, Alison Leigh, developed a local paper round which grew rapidly and became very popular in the local area. Alison also shopped for many members of the community, the elderly and disabled who had no means of visiting supermarkets and no access to technology. Alison also made weekly welfare telephone calls and set up a pen pal scheme between local primary schools and those people who were isolating.
The Foundation and its staff ran a number of Healthy Holiday sessions during all the school holidays during this period. This gave the children of vulnerable families free access to meals along with sports and craft activities. This was funded via grants from the Leeds Community Foundation.
Guiseley Community Foundation received some very positive feedback for their work over this period including this one:
“I cannot thank the Foundation enough for the help with food shopping and our daily newspaper delivery. It was very hard not being able to pop out to the shop and be beholden to other people while we were shielding but just knowing that we would be looked after and visited daily helped us through a very hard situation” Mr & Mrs B, Guiseley
Mick Glossop, Chairman of Guiseley AFC Supporters’ Club and Foundation Trustee commented:
“The Foundation have become a cornerstone of the Football Club and the Local Community, this was reinforced during the pandemic where they really stepped up to the plate and made bonds within the community, some of whom were not necessarily football supporters, these bonds will never be broken, this to me is what community work is all about, serving and helping everyone who needed this help.
The excellent work done and still being done daily is appreciated by the local community and those who benefit, this is expressed via social media from a variety of sources every day, speaking as the Football Club’s Supporters’ Club Chairman and as a Trustee of The Foundation we are really proud of the Foundation’s work.”