Whilst much talk in football since the Coronavirus pandemic has surrounded the debate around players’ taking a pay cut, and whether the Premier League should be null and void, there has been seldom mention of all the positive initiatives enacted by clubs like Southampton FC during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Saints As One campaign was launched by Southampton FC and the Saints Foundation last month, designed to help fans and members of society who find themselves isolated and vulnerable during this period, as well as educating, entertaining and uniting the Southampton FC family as a whole.
With large numbers of people left isolated and some struggling to obtain food, the club has partnered with FareShare, the UK’s national network of charitable food re-distributors, to ensure that many of those who are vulnerable or at-risk can still gain vital access to hot, well-balanced meals.
It begins with a commitment to cook and supply a 1000 meals a week by club chefs, for distribution by Club and Foundation staff to those in need in the city and surrounding areas.
For more information about this you can view the film below, which went out on BBC Breakfast a few weeks ago and has since been shared on social media too:
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) April 4, 2020
The Health Projects team have signed up as volunteers with the charity Communicare, to ensure that older and isolated individuals are kept in contact with, and have access to the adequate food and prescriptions that they need. A number of Saints Foundation staff have also signed up to volunteer at charities and organisations across the city, including the NHS. A large donation of fruits and vegetables are given to the Society of St James, which helps vulnerable adults, including those who are homeless.
As part of the outreach and engagement project, exercise and wellbeing is encouraged through online exercise videos and printed exercise manuals for older adults, to ensure that they can remain active whilst at home. For youngsters, there are a series of short, high-intensity exercise videos whic feature some of their favourite Southampton players.
In addition, a toolkit of educational resources has been provided to help children learn whilst out of school, including Premier League Primary Stars resources. Supporters and the wider community will also be able to benefit from the expertise within the club’s medical and performance science departments in the coming weeks, with a number of resources designed to provide useful, practical health and wellbeing advice.
On top of this, the club has pledged a minimum of 1,000 free match tickets for NHS staff and their families once football resumes, as a recognition of their incredible contribution at all times, but especially now.
Upon launch of the campaign, Southampton FC’s Chief Commercial Officer David Thomas stated:
The club and Saints Foundation are both proud of holding a place at the heart of the community, and we are committed to supporting everyone within it at this time, whether that be in person, online or offline.
We hope through these initiatives that we can help to make a real difference to people in need, while also being there for our fanbase in a variety of ways during these challenging times.
These initiatives are certainly making a difference to those in need. Southampton FC and the Saints Foundation can hold their heads high in these unprecedented times. Other clubs should now follow suit.