Wigan Athletic Community Trust have launched a brand new initiative to tackle loneliness across the Wigan Borough this Christmas.
During the festive period, the club’s official charity will be delivering Christmas support packages to people at risk of isolation as part of the Tackling Loneliness Together programme and a £5 donation from Latics supporters will significantly help the cause and ensure we can deliver to more people over the festive period.
Contributions from supporters will assist the Community Trust in providing a number of items within the bags including Christmas puddings, crafts and other festive gifts.
Tom Flower, Head of Community at Wigan Athletic, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has had such an impact on the lives of many older people in our community; it has meant they have become even more isolated, which has had an adverse effect on their mental health.
“For people living on their own, Christmas can be a very difficult time and one made even harder during these uncertain times.
“Through the delivery of our festive bags we aim to make what may be a challenging time, a much more joyful occasion and any donations from supporters will certainly help us to do this.”
Latics are one of 31 EFL clubs involved in the programme launched by the EFL Trust and supported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) during the summer to tackle loneliness among older people.
Christine Blundell, who has been working on the nprogramme for the Community Trust says the packages will provide much needed festive spirit for those that receive them.
“The packages will contain plenty of festive gifts including a Christmas pudding, tree decorations, crafts and also letters and pictures from local primary school pupils,” Christine said.
“We have seen through the programme how much of an impact a phone call or chat over the fence can have, so to provide these packages at a crucial time of the year will make a real difference.”
As part of the programme, staff have been providing a number of services to ensure those most vulnerable continue to feel connected to their local community, including virtual coffee mornings, walking groups, phone calls and socially distanced garden gate visits.
So far over 1,000 phone calls have been made to residents and supporters to check in and offer any further support whilst over 70 socially distanced garden gate visits have taken place.
Teresa Dexter, who has benefitted from both phone calls and visits from staff, said: “The support during lockdown has been very, very welcome with the visits and the phone calls.
“It’s been nice as I live alone and we haven’t been able to see much of our families. It was nice to know someone was coming and that someone cared enough to come and chat or phone just for ten minutes. It gave me something to look forward to.”