This year's Festive Friends campaign from the SPFL Trust saw more people helped than ever before
Football clubs helped to ensure communities remained safe during the festive period.
The SPFL Trust today has revealed community trusts and associated SPFL clubs (ATCs) delivered over 2,800 Christmas gift boxes to people in Scotland who were at risk of social isolation and loneliness as part of its Festive Friends at Home 2020 campaign.
And in doing so it marked the biggest ever Festive Friends Christmas programme, with more clubs, more people engaged, more volunteers, more partners and more funding than ever before.
Festive Friends has been running for five years but usually community trusts and associated SPFL clubs (ATCs) host a three-course Christmas lunch with entertainment for people in the community at their home stadium.
Due to Covid-19 it wasn’t possible to follow that format, so the SPFL Trust teamed up with a record 37 ATCs to launch a new ‘at home’ version of the programme in 2020.
This new-look initiative saw clubs bring festive cheer and companionship to people’s doorsteps with deliveries of Christmas gift boxes containing food, snacks, essential toiletries, gifts, games and more. Some clubs brought video messages from managers and players; others had players make personal deliveries.
The scale of the project meant that volunteers were crucial to help with the volume of deliveries. A total of 558 people pitched in across the country to help.
This year's programme was generously funded by James Anderson and the SPFL Trust’s second anonymous donor, who between them provided £87,700. Importantly, community trusts and SPFL clubs were able to leverage additional funding through local partners to widen access. In total, an additional £12,190 was raised.
Partnerships were also key to this year’s campaign. Community trusts called upon local partners such as, Tesco, Cyrenians, Penumbra, and the Salvation Army to help with a variety of things from packing, delivery and additional goodies for the boxes. A total of 183 partners were engaged.
SPFL Trust interim chief executive Warren Hawke said: "We're pleased to see the wide-spread support and compassion of community trusts and the associated SPFL clubs. It's incredible to see how Scottish football has stepped up to help such a large number of those in need.
"The stories of individuals across the country shine through in the report. It arguably has meant more, reached more and been felt by more than ever before."
"We're incredibly grateful for the generous donations from James Anderson and our anonymous donor that have made this possible. It allowed community trusts and clubs to leverage match funding and support.
"If you've been inspired by what you read in this report, and would be in a position to support us in 2021 we'd love to hear from you."