Gosport Borough have teamed up with Morrisons superstore to start supplying food parcels to those most in need in the community during the coronavirus crisis.
The community football club, based at Privett Park, has re-purposed its bar manager Keith Slater to coordinate the club effort and 15 volunteers have already signed up to help.
On Thursday, the club delivered its first parcels to needy families and individuals.
Keith said: “We are so grateful to Morrisons, who agreed at once when we explained what we are aiming to do. They donated a pallet of food, which some of the volunteers have sorted and packed up, and we are hoping we will have one of these each week from now on.
“Our staff and supporters have also been fantastic with 15 of them signing up already to volunteer to help our effort.
“The whole plan has been fully risk-assessed and we are providing appropriate safety equipment. Our health and safety consultant has also given the volunteers a full briefing on the risks and how to minimise them for themselves and the people they are helping.
“So far demand has been quite low, but speaking to other agencies and community stakeholders it is expected to ramp up as the effects of people losing their incomes kicks in over the next week or so.”
The club is liaising with Gosport Voluntary Action, which has the overview of the situation, and it has also been looking at how best to use resources by speaking with the Salvation Army and Solent Mobility, who are also looking to help people in the town.
Keith continued: “I only joined the club in mid-March, so this wasn’t quite what I had in mind for my first few weeks in a new job, but it’s actually been very uplifting. Making contacts with our community partners is vital.
“Football often gets a bad press, but hopefully this shows how a club at the heart of its community can really make a difference.”
And the club is still looking for others to help it in its efforts.
“Volunteers can still sign up, as the more we spread the load the less risk individuals have to run, and we’d love to hear from any other businesses or organisations who can provide supplies or services or need some potential people-power to underpin their efforts.
“In the end we want to ensure this is all joined up so we don’t duplicate effort or, worse still, see the vulnerable slip through the cracks,” added Keith.
To contact Keith directly email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are over 18 and fit and well, you can sign up as a Boro’ volunteer here: https://forms.gle/LZQ5nc7dvTszjVPU7
If you are in need yourself, or know someone is in need, you can refer them to GVA either online at www.gva.org.uk/coronavirus or by calling their Community Helpline on 023 9254 5588 (Monday-Friday 9am-5pm).