The official charity of Crawley Town FC, Crawley Town Community Foundation is joining 31 EFL clubs as part of a national programme to help reconnect people as the country emerges from lockdown.
A recent study from the Office National Statistics showed that 2.6 million adults reported that they felt lonely “often” or “always”, whilst 7.4 million adults reported their well-being had been affected as a result of feeling lonely in the past seven days.
“Tackling Loneliness Together”, is led by the EFL Trust and backed by the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS). It aims to use people’s passion for football to engage, support and connect older people at risk of loneliness in deprived regions across England.
A £810,000 grant from the DCMS to the EFL Trust to support the project, will be used by clubs across the country to expand the provision currently offered by the EFL Trust’s ‘Extra Time Hubs’, aiming to engage more retired and semi-retired people to an effort to combat the rise in loneliness and inactivity within the older generations.
The programme will now offer befriending phone calls, online social groups, a pen-pal scheme and socially distanced ‘garden gate’ conversations.
Each week there will be a timetable of activities on offer to get involved with, allowing participants to engage and interact, therefore lowering the levels of loneliness and social isolation within the local community.
Darren Ford, Community Development Manager at Crawley Town Community Foundation explained why Tackling Loneliness is so important at this time, “Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic there has been a raised awareness of the levels of loneliness and social isolation.
This isn’t a new social problem, it’s unfortunately always been there and in Crawley, there are high levels of loneliness and isolation we are aware of. In the past few months staff have been working hard to support the local community and work towards tackling loneliness and isolation, the feedback from participants has been fantastic and we will continue to tackle loneliness and isolation, as much as we can.”
Mike Evans, Chief Executive Officer of the EFL Trust comments, “We are proud to have been chosen to be part of this vital mission to support the older people in our communities. We see this as an endorsement of the great work that our CCOs have done in this area and we know there is so much more that our network will achieve. Our Health and Wellbeing team are working hard to match the expertise of our network to the communities where it is most desperately needed and we continue to work with DCMS, NHS, Public Health England and other agencies to ensure we can all build back better after COVID-19.”
Crawley Town Community Foundation and the EFL Trust will also join a number of charities and businesses across the UK taking part in the government’s Tackling Loneliness Network, leading the charge against loneliness. The group will explore ways to bring people together to build strong community spirit, with a focus on groups at particular risk of loneliness, and will work to continue these initiatives in the future.
If you would like to take part in the programme or know a family member or friend who would benefit from the service, please register your interest - https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/QQR7T73
Or contact Darren Ford for more details – firstname.lastname@example.org