The help MFC Foundation has been able to provide throughout this pandemic has been both practical and virtual.

Every Monday morning staff meet at the Riverside putting together food parcels ready for distribution to individuals and foodbanks that afternoon. This includes a special visit to an old lady who can’t get out and, in her words, “must have gluten free bread”.

It’s similar in another area, where three staff dress up as superheroes. Batman (and Robin), Captain America, Ironman, Superman and Spiderman are occasionally joined by Frozen’s Elsa as, three times a week, to deliver food parcels. The children have loved it (and the staff have secretly lived a childhood ambition!).

In part, the reason behind this is to ensure children who usually receive free school meals don’t miss out. However equally as important is the food distribution run on a Friday as meals prepared by a chef who was a quarter-finalist in MasterChef: the Professionals are distributed to care homes, hospitals and a Good Neighbours initiative.

Recent deliveries from Christian charity His Church, plus others from Greggs (50,000 bottles of orange and 40,000 packets of crisps), McVities and Bettys and Taylors Tea, have allowed us to make donations to charities across the region and to make up “Thank You” parcels to the unheralded and certainly unsuspecting members of the community; the response has been touching.

The Boro Foundation have created a Virtual Classroom. Every morning, Monday to Friday they post resources on their website. Challenges, worksheets and activities in line with the national curriculum that have proved very popular with schools and individuals alike.

A gallery of the work of internationally-acclaimed artist Mackenzie Thorpe inspired young and old across Teesside to create artwork of their own, be that with paint and brush, or the making of a model in what proved to be a very popular competition.

Each day at noon Boro post a Midday Message on their social media channels. The post may be a simple message, it may be a quiz, a challenge, an activity, a resource that can be used by young and old, links to something they may find useful, for instance Mind. The Head Chef of Middlesbrough Football Club Howard Archer sends in a new recipe every Wednesday.

The FIT Boro group have access to online physical activity sessions to support their drive to become more physically active, while weekly video catch-up sessions that might just include bingo, a quiz or just a catch-up over a cup of tea, have helped keep groups and communities together.

Younger members of the community have enjoyed FIFA20 tournaments, older ones have relished the calls made by the Foundation simply to see how they are and what, if anything, they need.

Helena Bowman, Head of Foundation, comments “From international artists, to housebound individuals, we take inspiration from them all and that fuels our duty of care to our communities.”