18 Year Old Katie Helps Support 70 Vulnerable Households

“Everyone should come together in times of need and work together as a team.” says Katie McDougall who has been volunteering with Preston North End ‘Helping Hampers’ Campaign, she continues, “As a young person, I’ve got lots of time on my hands and if I can volunteer my services, I will. If I can help others, put a smile on their face and get them through this hardship, then obviously it makes me feel good as well!”   

Katie, aged 18, joined Preston North End Community and Education Trust (PNECET) to volunteer for their ‘Helping Hampers’ Campaign. The campaign supports the most vulnerable people in the community of Preston with hampers of essential food and provisions.  So far she has helped provide 70 vulnerable household with essential provision to help get them through this difficult period.

Katie first came in to contact PNECET when she did NCS in 2019 and that is how she found out about the opportunity to volunteer for the ‘Helping Hampers’ campaign. NCS is a youth programme designed for 16-17 year olds that runs every summer and autumn. The experience is all about empowering young people, to help develop their skills that will set them up for life after school. On NCS, participants live away from home and get a taste of independence as well as positively impacting their local community through a social action project.

Katie said: I heard about this [PNECET Helping Hampers] because I’ve taken part in NCS. My family are quite involved with Preston [North End], follow them on Facebook, and saw that the Community and Education Trust are doing this really good scheme making hampers for vulnerable people.”

Katie is a student at Newman College and should have been doing her exams. Instead, she’s at home still studying but with plenty of time on her hands and so volunteered a few hours each week to help put together over 70 hampers together for vulnerable people within Preston.

Christine Latus is Preston North End season ticket holder and was a recipient of a PNECET Helping Hamper, she said;

“It’s absolutely wonderful, it’s a real surprise – I didn’t expect anything like this at all, but it’s really helpful and it’s lovely to think that the club are thinking about the supporters in these strange times. We obviously can’t go to matches or anything, so it’s really, really kind, I really appreciate it.”

NCS have recently launched ‘Keep Doing Good’ to help young people take an active role in the recovery of the country after COVID-19.

As part of Katie’s time on NCS she delivered a social action project that had a positive impact on the community. After her volunteering with PNECET Katie is keen to do more volunteering to support the community.

Katie said “It’s been great to help out and support the local community of Preston. I want to continue doing that and look forward to volunteering more in the community. I would encourage other young people my age to take up volunteering, it’s really rewarding and a good use of time”

Preston North End Community and Education Trust Community Partnerships Manager Rebecca Robertson said: “Katie has been a valued volunteer on our PNECET Helping Hampers campaign. She has spent time in our offices at Deepdale helping with making the boxes for our hampers and packing them with food, toiletries and other engaging materials for the vulnerable members of our community.

“It has been great to see one of our NCS graduates getting involved with our community initiatives during this difficult time and we’re looking forward to working with Katie more on the NCS Keep Doing Good project, as we’re sure she can continue making a real impact in our community!”

If you are 15-17 and want to support your local community volunteering then sign up to ‘Keep Doing Good’ and help get your local community back on its feet after. 

“We’re really pleased Colchester United FITC staff have volunteered to befriend our residents. It’s been a lifeline for lots of them.”

Football Never Went Away

EFL Clubs and their respective Club Community Organisations (CCOs) have always been, and remain, at the heart of their communities, and their importance to the daily lives of so many people cannot be underestimated. That has been reflected in the outstanding collective efforts that have been made in supporting the response to coronavirus so far.

In the midst of the unprecedented and, quite clearly, challenging set of circumstances brought about by the outbreak of COVID-19, Clubs came together to collectively show that even when there are no fixtures, Football remains at the heart of the community and never went away.

With 36.6million people in England and Wales living within a 10-mile radius of an EFL Club – a radius that encompasses four in 10 residents who fall into the most-deprived population groups – never has this work been more important.

Club Community Organisations were quick to co-ordinate activities with their local authorities, with vulnerable community members and safety at the forefront of their thinking and response.

Over 215,000 food parcels have been delivered across the network, including an extra 26,000 Easter eggs and treats to NHS staff and vulnerable adults and children. As one-to-one contact moved online or via telephone, over 120,000 calls were made with fans, the elderly or vulnerable by EFL Clubs.

And as the Government called on the public to ease the burden on the National Health Service, at least 30 Clubs opened their doors to key workers, offering space and facilities in stadia for testing and accommodation. In addition, Clubs have delivered over 13,000 items of PPE equipment and 3,500 prescriptions.

In the absence of fixtures and training sessions, football’s players put their role-model status to good use, and made an incredible impact in their respective local communities. Instead of delivering goals, some delivered food parcels, while others made vital phone calls instead of tackles, all for the benefit of those most vulnerable members of society.

And, as the nationwide lockdown was extended, the CCO network adapted to ensure people could remain healthy, active and connected.

EFL Clubs and CCOs are delivering outstanding work across the country every hour of every day and will continue to do so. They are also providing a significant service to their local authorities, many of whom turned to their Clubs in the early weeks of the pandemic. Alongside this, the Clubs and charities are finding innovative new ways to fund raise to support their fans, councils and local charities. The adaptation of our CCOs has been phenomenal and will continue to evolve to meet the needs of our EFL communities. From the outset of our response, the safety of our communities and our Clubs has remained paramount and adherence to Government advice has been at the heart of our delivery.