Football Club Community organisations expand Coronavirus community care thanks to Barclays Donation

EFL Football Clubs in Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Nottingham have been awarded a collective £400,000 from Barclays to feed hungry people, combat loneliness and ensure that these vital services continue to be available as we eventually move out of the pandemic.

The Football Club Community Organisations are amongst 100 UK charities to be awarded a £100k donation from the ‘Barclays Community Aid Fund’, designed to support COVID-19 relief work in local communities. The programme, which forms part of their wider COVID-19 Community Aid Package, focuses on supporting UK charity partners who are meeting the immediate needs of people in communities, including low income families, those facing financial hardship, isolated elderly people and key workers.

The 100k donation has allowed Pompey in the Community to continue its co-ordination of food deliveries for the vulnerable, isolated and needy.  To date more than 4,600 people have benefited from their food parcel deliveries.  In addition, the funding will allow the charity to enhance its socially distanced activities such as ‘pop up’ afternoon tea, hot meal deliveries and interactive Zoom sessions, which will not only support the charity’s immediate response but ensure projects become embedded and will continue in the future.

Clare Martin, Director of Community Projects at Pompey in the Community, said: “This funding has really supported us in providing the city such a vital and impactful service during the Pandemic. Our provision is continually developing in direct response to the needs of the city and the continually evolving situation. It’s been a real privilege to be able to support so many people.”

The donation to MFC Foundation will be used to fund the continuation of its work of distributing food parcels to those who need it most at this time. Working with the Food Poverty Partnership, the Foundation will also ensure that the funds are used to enhance sustainable food options in Tees Valley for the foreseeable future, ensuring that there are accessible and affordable options available for local people.

Helena Bowman, Head of MFC Foundation said: “This is a significant investment for MFC Foundation and will make a huge difference to individuals in our community who, unfortunately, are in a position where they require support with food. We will ensure that this funding is used to sustain a long-term impact.”

In Sunderland, the funding will support the award-winning community charity to connect with 5,000 households in Sunderland, South Tyneside and County Durham over four months who are facing, or who are already experiencing these challenges. Thousands of care packages will be created to include food packages and resources for families/individuals experiencing financial strain, including access to free online cooking courses to teach them how to cook healthy meals on a budget, as well as access to free weekly challenges to encourage people to stay active whilst staying safe.

Foundation of Light Chief Executive, Lesley Spuhler OBE said, “Our region has some of the poorest communities in the country. Since the crisis hit in March, we have been working incredibly hard to support some the most vulnerable and ensure we can keep them physically and mentally active. It is absolutely imperative that we continue to help those who most in need; not only those in deprived areas who are facing an incredibly tough winter, but also those who have found themselves financially insecure as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis.”

Nottingham Forest were delighted to receive the significant donation, which enabled them to transform the level of strategic support they have been able to provide for the people in their local community with the greatest need, including major healthy food provision for children, families living in temporary local authority accommodation and vulnerable people of all ages who have been in need of regular food supplies and essential household items throughout this emergency period.

Graham Moran CEO, Nottingham Forest Community Trust said, “The Barclays donation allowed us to focus resources and services where they were needed most and played a vital role in support of the amazing private, statutory and third sector response to the Covid-19 emergency across Nottingham.”

Nigel Higgins, Barclays Chairman, said: “COVID has created an unprecedented social and economic impact in the UK, with many experiencing greater hardship due to the crisis. Incredible charities, such as these Football Club Community Organisations, have been playing a vital role in the UK’s response to the pandemic, ensuring urgent help reaches those most in need of support. As a bank we have been doing all we can for our customers, clients and colleagues, and we hope that by partnering with these organisations and many other charities across the UK, collectively we can ensure that as many people as possible in the communities in which we live and work are supported through this crisis.”