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How the EFL Trust has been tackling Covid-19 related loneliness

Blog from Head of Health and Wellbeing at EFL Trust

19 May 2021

The EFL Trust has outlined how it has been working to help those left isolated by the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak. The EFL Trust is the charitable arm of the EFL and was established in 2008 to oversee the work of EFL’s club community organisations (CCOs), including Brentford FC Community Sports Trust. The EFL Trust is responsible for distributing core funding from the Premier League and The PFA to each CCO and highlights community work done by clubs across the country, including at Brentford.

In a post on the EFL Trust website, Adrian Bradley, Head of Health and Wellbeing explained that 2020 and 2021 have obviously been particularly challenging years. He wrote that the EFL Trust and network of 72 club community organisations have adapted existing programmes and launched new support services to respond directly to the pandemic and, with the support of funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, have been able to reach and support 35,000 older people at risk of chronic loneliness.

He wrote: "People in the clinically vulnerable groups who were ‘shielding’ particularly needed our support. They were likely to become isolated and to suffer the effects of deteriorating mental wellbeing. Anxiety, stress, fear, frustration, and boredom have all been accentuated by Covid-19 related restrictions of movement, loss of social connections and activities, fear of contagion, and concern about restricted access to basic supplies and services.

"Many club charities developed a telephone support offer during the initial lockdown period. Many then experimented with remote delivery, often online but also group telephone calls and deliveries of resources to people’s homes to enable them to participate in activities from home like arts and crafts packs, exercise equipment and plants and seeds to grow. This actually meant they were able to engage with people who may previously have struggled to access face-to-face support."

These activities were undertaken at Brentford. Staff and Directors called older supporters and that work continued for well over a year. Brentford FC Community Sports Trust set up activities at home for people of all ages as part of the #BeeAtHome and #BeeWell initiatives. See more on that on the Trust website here and read the full blog from Adrian Bradley here.

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