As the reality of the impact on their community became clearer, under the banner of the Club’s ‘Here for U’s’ campaign, Cambridge United’s Community Trust have been working tirelessly to provide practical, emotional and physical support to their area.
Their response takes into consideration the variety of people and their needs in the local community and aims to provide exactly what their community needs to get them through this difficult time…
Sam Gomarsall, Community Trust Manager, explains:
“Here for U’s is all about providing the people who need it with practical, emotional and physical support. These are unprecedented times and the club wants to do everything it can to play its part in helping our community through this. Naturally, we’re having to adapt our approach to community work of course, but we’re as committed as ever to being there for our local community when they need us the most.”
Amongst the many strands of work under the Here For U’s project, Cambridge United Community Trust have teamed up with the Cambridge City Council’s Food Poverty Alliance, to ensure that vulnerable children in the area will continue to get the meals they need during the holiday period. This is not an unusual practice for the Community Trust, as many children and families attend the stadium in school holidays as they are supported with activities and meals. However, with the current situation preventing their ability to do so, an alternative solution had to be found.
Cambridge United’s club catering manager has volunteered to work with the Trust to ensure meals are prepared and the team then distribute them to the relevant homes. Throughout the period of lockdown, a total of over 1,717 two-course meals will have been provided in the local area. Alongside the meals, activity packs have been provided to support the learning of young people, for whom structure and having something to do in the day will be so important.
Alongside this brilliant approach to ensuring the continuation of a normal provision for the Trust, is the opening of a Community Careline. The Careline gives those over 70 and those self-isolating the chance to have a friendly chat, make the team aware that they need food or wellbeing support and also give the Trust the chance to signpost those most vulnerable to other support groups in conjunction with the local authorities such as Mutual Aid.
Another innovation has seen Cambridge United’s EFL Community Project of the Year (League Two) online to support school children with their mental health. Showing once again their ability to adapt, the Trust have developed and provided online resources for the project to schools in their area so they can be sent out to school children to complete their learning in this vital area of wellbeing.
The club and Trust have also been encouraging their fans and participants to share their favourite football memories and next to launch is an online version of their project ‘Active Science’ in conjunction with Astra Zeneca.
The Trust’s strong focus on online education opportunities is no coincidence.
Sam explains: “There is a real risk that this period will widen the educational inequality gap in our communities and across the UK. We want our community to know that we are with them throughout this difficult time and will continue to build and adapt our approach to support them with their most important needs.”