The English Football League (EFL) has delivered its one millionth food parcel as part of its ongoing community work supporting those in need during the global pandemic. A year since football was forced to stop during the first national lockdown, the delivery of the one millionth food parcel is testament that football never went away, with all 72 EFL Clubs continuing to provide community outreach schemes over the last 12 months. Ryan Yates, of Nottingham Forest, made the delivery to a local resident who has been relying on food parcel donations throughout the pandemic.
The initiative is part of the EFL’s community response work to help some of the most vulnerable people in communities up and down the country since the outbreak of Covid-19. EFL players and staff are among those who have donated food and everyday essentials which have been packed and distributed to families facing food poverty or unable to leave their homes while shielding from coronavirus. With fans absent from stadiums, vacant concourses have been used to store food donations while closed catering facilities re-opened to prepare hot meals and sandwiches to deliver to local disadvantaged people.
Brentford FC Community Sports Trust stepped in during lockdown to ensure students eligible for free school meals at Oak Hill Academy had them delivered to their doorstep. During January, three volunteers from the Trust collected food parcels from Oak Hill and handed them over to families. See the full story here.
When Brentford FC Community Sports Trust had to cancel the majority of its community activities at Christmas, staff instead supported hundreds of families with Christmas hampers and online activities with Brentford players. The Trust managed to deliver 440 lunches to over 90 families in west London. Along with funding from the Premier League, Willmott Dixon contributed to the project and The Cricketeers in Kew donated Christmas meals to the campaign. Other work done by Brentford was mainly the #BeeatHome and #BeeWell online campaigns.
More than 36.6million people live within a 10 mile radius of an EFL club – a radius that encompasses one in four people falling in to the most deprived population. EFL’s community work has never been more important with already deprived communities now facing additional issues brought on by the pandemic.
EFL Chair, Rick Parry, said: “One year ago this week, stadiums around the country shut down, signalling the start of an unprecedented year for the game – but off the pitch football has never gone away. Despite facing significant financial challenges in an uncertain economic landscape, all 72 EFL clubs and club community organisations stepped up to help frontline services without hesitation. I congratulate each and every one of them for the resilience and determination they have demonstrated by continuing to deliver vital community work – this has provided a lifeline for so many during the challenges of the last 12 months.”
EFL’s community response to COVID-19 – Key Numbers:
- Delivered one million food parcels, sandwiches and hot meals
- Delivered more than 179,000 items of PPE
- Delivered more than 22,000 prescriptions
- Had in excess of 526,000 outgoing and incoming conversations with fans and vulnerable people
- Stadia is being used as mass vaccination and testing sites to support the NHS
- Providing more than 600 job opportunities for young unemployed people through the Kickstart programme
- The EFL is spreading awareness about mental health support and provision through its On Your Side charity partnership with Mind