Firstly I hope this statement finds you and your loved ones well and thank you to all of you who have emailed me so far to offer your services and time supporting St Mirren FC Charitable Foundation and all of our community partners delivering essential outreach services going forward. You will all receive an email from Gayle this afternoon with additional information on where your help can be utilised.
These are indeed unprecedented times and this ever changing landscape we currently all find ourselves in has provided us with many challenges. These challenges have forced us to be innovative, creative and most importantly to keep in the forefront of our minds those who are the most vulnerable and will be greatly affected by the current restrictions placed on our society due to COVID-19.
Further to in depth discussions with the team on every program we currently deliver we have decided to make the following changes in how we provide these services and engage with the community in a safe and responsible manner going forward.
Our Football Memories program for those with various stages of dementia are clearly our most vulnerable group and as such all in-house sessions have been cancelled. We will be working with our community partners on this to provide online engagement and additional practical support to tackle isolation and provide essential supplies to each member of the group and their families.
As you know our Paisley Men’s shed have temporarily closed their doors this week until further notice. The shedders have full support from Star Project and they are now fully focused on volunteering in the community to support Star’s contingency plan as are we.
Our Buds In Bootcamp and Football Fans In Training groups had their last in-house sessions this week, from Monday 23rd March we will continue to provide full support and delivery online with live streaming of home workouts and pre-filmed seminars covering each weeks educational content. We will provide additional support via email, phone, WhatsApp and social media groups to tackle isolation, provide motivation and information on essential services at this time.
Our Future Entrepreneurship and 4-4-2 literacy programs would normally be delivered to children at the stadium and in local primary schools and libraries. These sessions have now been postponed and we are discussing innovative ways we can provide online tasks/challenges and competitions to those children and groups and have the players from both St Mirren FC Men’s & Women’s teams take part and support.
Lastly, our children’s community football programs from schools coaching sessions, Saturday Saints, Football camps & parties to Panda Club are now cancelled on a face-to-face basis.
With the schools closing tomorrow we know exactly how much pressure this places families within our community under and how more engagement rather than less is essential. From Mon 23rd March we will post up on social media & YouTube daily online challenges from coaching skills & drills which can be done utilising household items such as keepy uppy, FIFA and ball skill challenges.
We will have art projects, reading & poetry competitions, educational projects, dance offs, musical performances, family based challenges where guardians must get involved and many more. We will endeavour to be as creative and supportive as we can from an engagement and communication point of view. The club are providing full support on this and the players from both teams will participate in challenges and send messages of support to children and families taking part, it’s a team effort.
We are well aware of the many wonderful organisations within Renfrewshire currently providing essential services at this time and rather than mimic what they are already doing well & thus effectively producing a diluted version of these services, we have decided to pool our resources and provide our support across the board where we can.
With this in mind, we are supporting Star Project, our Paisley Men’s Shed partner, with their extensive contingency plan. I will post up information on Star’s community outreach services and the relevant document for anyone wishing to register as a volunteer and deliver emergency food parcels, medications etc this afternoon.
We will also be providing full support to Renfrewshire Foodbank in the coming weeks/months and will post up information on this next week.
We are currently looking for additional food partners and only this afternoon took delivery of fresh produce and food stuffs kindly donated by Manorview Leisure.
There are many in ways in which we can all help make a difference during this time from befriending calls to those who are isolated to becoming a pen pal and writing a letter of support. The delivery of essential medications and food stuffs is vital but most importantly it’s time to see people. This is the time to really look at those who may be struggling financially, who may be hungry, who have no families, who may be mentally completely overwhelmed and to show that we care, we are all part of the same community and we are all in this together.
Please keep checking our social media posts and the club website for regular updates and more information on both our own programs plus additional services being provided throughout Renfrewshire.
Thank you in advance for your unwavering and continued support. Hopefully it won’t be long before all of this is a distant memory, but for the time being, take care of yourselves and each other.