- Over 3,000 people will be supported by Festive Friends this year
- A record £100,000 has been committed to this year’s campaign
- More community trusts and SPFL clubs than ever involved (41)
- This year’s campaign will see the continuation of last year’s doorstep visits to people who are at risk of social isolation
- Some clubs will host festive events again for the first time since last year
Arbroath, Forfar Athletic and Montrose football clubs are bringing Christmas cheer to those that need it most this year by taking part in the biggest ever Festive Friends programme during the holiday season.
Festive Friends is a brilliant opportunity for clubs to give back to their local communities.
The programme is now in its sixth year, with 41 SPFL clubs taking part in the campaign this year.
The campaign has the largest fund ever this year, a total of £100,000, which means the SPFL Trust will be able to more than DOUBLE the number of people clubs are able to support.
As such, the programme is expected to support over 3,000 people this year.
It’s been a tough few years for everyone due to Covid-19, but of course it has been especially difficult for the elderly who are at higher risk of social isolation.
Festive Friends brings Christmas cheer and companionship to elderly people who are socially isolated and at risk of being alone during the festive season.
Almost 4,000 people have enjoyed an event in the last five years and last year’s new-look initiative, when it was not possible to hold events due to physical distancing rules, was also a huge success with over 2,800 people receiving Christmas hampers in doorstep visits.
Hampers contained food, snacks, essential toiletries, gifts, games and more. Some clubs even brought video messages from managers and players; others had players make personal deliveries.
This year club staff and volunteers will continue to visit participants with hampers, or welcome them to their ground to enjoy a hot Christmas lunch, fun and games, a club gift, and transport there and home.
Tommy (84), who lives in a rural part of Perthshire, received a Christmas hamper from St Johnstone Community Trust ‘Saints in the Community’ last year.
Tommy self isolated during the first national lockdown in Spring 2020. The lack of social interaction and the loss of his beloved football had taken its toll on him physically and mentally.
He was thrilled to receive a hamper which was packed with festive goodies, a memory lane activity book, and a bonus video message from first-team player Stevie May.
Tommy said: “The gift box was full of lovely stuff. I like when Saints come to visit and we can have a chat about the games. I don’t always remember all the scores, but Danny [former St Johnstone FC player – Danny Griffin] keeps me right.
“The wee activity book took me back, it’s no substitute for talking to others about the game, but it brought back nice times.”
SPFL Trust CEO, Nicky Reid, said: “Festive Friends is a real highlight of the year for me and my colleagues at SPFL clubs. It’s all about good old fashioned Christmas spirit – bringing club staff and volunteers together to reach elderly people who are at risk of social isolation.
“Scottish football is trusted to support, and our recent research shows that almost 83% of people live within ten miles of a SPFL ground – because of this clubs and their associated community trusts are well positioned to effect this type of change in their communities.
“This year 41 SPFL clubs are involved making it our biggest programme yet, supported by a record breaking fund of £100,000. We look forward to supporting more elderly people than ever before, after all kindness never mattered more.”
For more information on Festive Friends visit: www.spfltrust.org.uk/ festivefriends