Following instructions and advice from the Government and football authorities, most Community Trust projects and programmes have been kicked into touch by the COVID-19 outbreak.
However, the work doesn't stop for Blackburn Rovers Community Trust’s dedicated and passionate workforce, as community club organisations prove that they are needed more than ever in these challenging times.
Blackburn Rovers’ official charity staff have been on the telephones over the last few days contacting elderly participants from our projects such as Jack’s Walkers, Line Dancing and Remember the Rovers, making sure that participants have a friendly and familiar voice to reassure them in difficult circumstances.
It hasn’t just been projects for the elderly that have been hit this week with postponements. The Coronavirus outbreak has meant all sessions and activities based at the Indoor Centre at Ewood Park have ceased, which includes the Blackburn Rovers Sports College.
Our education and sports staff have been in regular contact with all students, guiding them to their online learning environment, meaning students can continue with their written assignments until the college reconvenes.
The ever-popular Neighbourhood Youth Offer has also seen closures, with a number of Premier League Kicks sessions and youth clubs being postponed for the time being. The Community Trust’s Neighbourhood team are working alongside the Police and link-minded partners to implement youth outreach work. Staff have also been on the phones to reassure young people who may be affected by the postponements.
Many members of Community Trust staff have also been getting involved in more traditional charity work by helping our friends at the Blackburn Foodbank. Staff have been providing a helping hand at the centre by putting together food parcels to be delivered to the more vulnerable members of the community who might not be able to get out to a supermarket.
Blackburn Rovers Community Trust’s Chief Executive Officer, Gary Robinson, is delighted to see his staff show real dedication to the local community.
“To see the staff making phone calls to participants and supporting Blackburn Foodbank is heartwarming, but it doesn’t surprise me – they’re an amazing group of people who care passionately about Blackburn with Darwen,” he said.
“We’re having to adapt our approach to community work, but we’re as committed as ever to being there for our local community when they need us the most.
“We’ve been on the phones, calling elderly and vulnerable people that participate in our community projects – just making sure they’re alright – to let them know that we’re thinking about them and we’re here if they need to talk to a familiar voice or if they need us to run any errands on their behalf.
“We’re also supporting our good friends at Blackburn Foodbank, as there could be a greater demand for their amazing service.
“As a football club, we’ve always prided ourselves on being a part of a strong community spirit that exists in Blackburn with Darwen. The entire country is going through an unprecedented situation, so it’s vitally important that organisations who are based in the heart of their local community, such as ourselves, continue to support local people and carry on with the vital work that we do.”
Steve Waggott, Chief Executive of Blackburn Rovers, had a supportive message for the local community.
“It’s in difficult times, like we’re going through now, that the essential role a football club plays within the community it serves comes to the fore, by getting on the front foot rather than pulling away and reducing contact with the most vulnerable and at risk groups,” he said.
“The work that Gary Robinson and his team are currently undertaking to bring comfort and assistance to those most in need shows the fantastic dedication him and his staff show towards all the people they work with.”