It's not all about big money signings
Football trusts have illustrated the extraordinary efforts they are making to communities in Scotland during the coronavirus crisis.
The charities have revealed they have been tackling food poverty, social isolation and inequalities, among many other issues as the pandemic has taken hold.
With interviews, stats, pictures and film, the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) Trust's report includes interviews, stats, pictures and film showing how charities linked to clubs have contributed to their communities in 2020.
From physically distanced walking groups, to food parcels, and companionship phone calls to digital learning tools for the kids, community trusts and clubs have been there for our communities at a time of need.
SPFL Trust chair Bernadette Malone said: “Our Covid-19 Impact Report is a mile marker in the Trusted to Support campaign that was launched in March 2020. This report highlights the vital efforts of associated trusts and clubs during the past nine months.
“As a nation, this has been the most challenging of times. It’s been a period that has necessitated resilience, adaptability and compassion.
“Each region, trust and club is different, and consequently has contributed in different ways.
“But no matter the scale of the project or the activity, the football community has worked incredibly hard to ensure that people in need have received support when they most needed it.
“We are aware that this is not over. Normality is still some time away, but community trusts and clubs are helping in no small way to build communities and will be there with purpose, energy and enthusiasm, trusted to support those who need a helping hand.”
Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing Mairi Gougeon said: “I recognise this has been an enormously challenging time for the football community, as well as the country as a whole.
“It’s fantastic that the community trusts, and associated SPFL clubs have risen to the challenge and provided vital support and service to their local communities, demonstrating how sport can play a pivotal role in Scotland’s recovery during this unprecedented time.”
St Mirren Charitable Foundation chief executive Gayle Brannigan reveals that Buddies manager Jim Goodwin went out with the charity every week during lockdown to support those who were finding the whole experience extremely difficult.
She said: “Our football manager Jim Goodwin was out with us morning to night one day a week, every single week, during the lockdown, delivering items to households.
“It meant a lot to people to see Jim coming up to their door because obviously many of them are fans of the club so it lifted a lot of people’s spirits to meet him.
“We also did special visits on Thursday afternoons to people who were really struggling in some way, whether they were feeling low or they were recovering from a serious illness, we wanted to make a difference in an emotional way as well as practical ways.”
Hibernian supporter Daniel Shields was placed on furlough, so offered his time to the Hibernian Community Foundation as a volunteer. He spent time on Fridays and Saturdays at Easter Road Stadium helping to pack food parcels which contained ingredients to cook meals such as pasta and sauce, tins of soup, cereal, bread and fruit
He said: “I’m sure it was the same for a lot of people during lockdown all the days start merging into one when there’s nothing to make the start of the week stand out. With this being on a Friday and Saturday afternoon it gave me something to look forward to and broke the week up a bit.
“It was great to see familiar faces every week and have face to face conversations and a bit of banter in a socially distanced environment during a time when social interaction was very limited.
“It was really fulfilling to know that by giving just two or three hours a week, which is a fairly small amount of time, you could be part of helping hundreds of families and about 300 to 500 individuals.”
Greenock Morton Community Trust were able to launch their Team Talk mental health programme online during the pandemic. Stephen*, who takes part in the peer support group at Cappielow every Monday evening revealed how important maintaining the programme – online – was so important to him.
He said: “During lockdown, Team Talk was vital to me. It was good to know other people were struggling during these times. Lockdown was extremely hard and it’s still difficult, but the WhatsApp group and the Zoom calls helped me to stay calm and relaxed.
“I never felt I was trapped even though we were in lockdown because I had an outlet for my anger or emotions to escape the troubles of the situation.
“Team Talk inspired me to stay positive and keep fighting through my mental health issues. I was also more aware of how other people were feeling so I pushed myself a bit harder to be there for those who needed me. The group gave me something to look forward to every week, made me feel safer and lockdown became easier as the weeks went by.”