Chester FC Community Trust would like to provide an update on its activities and plans in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
During this period, we have each had to adapt to unprecedented challenges and, while lockdown measures are now being eased, there is still great uncertainty about the future.
For the Community Trust, this meant stopping physical delivery and suspending normal activities. We are missing these sessions, missing football and missing our participants.
We focused on what we could do to support our community through these tough times. This included the Community Contact Initiative that has now helped more than 600 people with telephone befriending, shopping for essentials and collecting prescriptions, creating Chester FC themed education resources for home learning and keeping in touch with our participants, especially those at risk of social isolation.
This work will continue for as long as it is needed, but we have now also started to plan for the ‘return to play’ and how we can support schools as more children begin to return.
We do not yet know when we will be able to resume delivering football and sport activities, but we do expect these sessions will look and feel quite different for our participants.
Although we are desperate to get back to doing what we love, we can only do so when the time is right and we are sure we can provide a quality and positive experience for everyone so we will continue to monitor the latest guidance from the Government, The FA and Sport England, and consult with partner facilities to ensure a safe return.
Alongside this, we are exploring new ways to support our community in the post-Covid environment and deliver on our mission to use the power of sport and appeal of Chester FC to improve and enhance the lives of people living in Chester and the surrounding areas.
The economic outlook means many in our community will find themselves in need and we will be refocusing our efforts to look at how we can work in partnership with stakeholders, charities and community groups to help the most vulnerable.
The first part of this is Blues Giving Back, a new initiative to support local charities facing increased demand due to coronavirus. Working with the football club, we will be collecting donations for Kidsbank Chester, Share and West Cheshire Foodbank to help them continue to deliver vital services on the frontline. You can read more about this here.
For the Community Trust, the crisis has resulted in a loss of income, both from regular activities and planned fundraising events, and the board of trustees have taken steps to manage its resources and ensure the charity’s financial stability. Those staff members who are currently unable to deliver activities remain on furlough leave in order to protect these roles and we thank our employees for their agreement and understanding.
We have been able to secure some grant funding to help us through these challenges.
The trustees wish to thank Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Community Response Fund and Westminster Foundation, and Cheshire Community Foundation’s Cheshire and Warrington Covid-19 Response Appeal and Steve Morgan Foundation for supporting our community work in response to the outbreak.
We have also secured awards from Sport England’s Community Emergency Fund and Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund to help reduce the financial impact of the crisis on our organisation.
David Evans, chair of trustees, said: “During these past few months we have seen what a special community Chester is and how the football club can act as a positive force.
“Football and sport is at the heart of our charity because we know the profound impact this has on people’s physical and mental wellbeing and we look forward to resuming these activities soon, but we will also be looking at how we can use our reach and resources to best support our communities moving forward in the face of new and increased challenges.
“We would like to place on record our gratitude to MBNA, Cheshire West and Chester Council, the National League Trust and our funding partners for their continued support and guidance during this period.
“On a personal note I am sad to say that I am stepping down as chair of trustees due to a change in job, but I will be remaining as a trustee”.
How can you help?
There are a number of ways in which you can support the Trust’s work during the crisis. If you wish to make a donation, you can do so through our JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/chesterfc-communitytrust. Any contribution you are able to make is greatly appreciated and will help us to continue supporting vulnerable members of our community.
If you are interested in volunteering or know someone who needs support, you can email email@example.com or contact us on 07512 355396. You can also keep in touch through our social media platforms Twitter and Facebook.
Our City, Our Community, Our Club.
The Trustees of Chester FC Community Trust
David Evans, Paul Bodman, Sue Pearson, Chris Robertson, Mike Vickers and Martin Williams