Cambridge United FC are joining 31 EFL clubs as part of a major new programme to tackle loneliness among older people.
A recent study from the Office National Statistics (ONS) 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 through their having felt lonely in the past seven days. With the coronavirus pandemic, there is the potential for people to feel lonelier than ever.
Our Community Trust has, for many years, engaged retired and semi-retired people to combat loneliness and inactivity. Through the “Here For U’s” programme though, further practical, emotional and physical support was given to hundreds of those at risk of loneliness.
Together with 31 other club charities, the Community Trust has received funding from the Department of Media, Culture & Sport (DCMS) to expand their work further. The new grants will allow expanded activities across the country under the campaign ‘Let’s Tackle Loneliness Together’, including befriending phone calls, online social groups & socially distanced ‘garden gate’ conversations to emerge across communities and reach the people who need this vital support right when they need it the most.
Recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, efforts to ensure that older and more vulnerable United fans and members of the community are not isolated have stepped up with groups meeting online, and regular phone calls being made by our club & Community Trust staff, to check on people’s wellbeing.
The EFL Trust will bring together a number of clubs as part of a group of charities and business across the UK who will join 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.
Sam Gomarsall, Community Trust Manager, said: “We are proud to have been chosen as part of this wider mission to support elderly people up and down the country. Throughout lockdown, players, first-team staff, directors & many across the club came together to provide real support for many across our community. This funding will allow us to create more ways of people at risk of loneliness connecting with one another and helping reduce social isolation.”
We are reaching out to U’s fans in two ways:
- If you feel lonely or know someone who may be at risk of loneliness, let us know using this form.
In the next few months, there will be numerous ways U’s fans can support the programme through volunteering. Fill in this form to express an interest in helping and hear more.