Sports clubs provide more than just a place to participate - they can be essential hubs to local communities up and down the country.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected everyone’s lives, resulting in lost jobs, isolation and restrictions on leaving home. This has resulted in vulnerable members of the community being unable to get out for essential supplies such as food or toiletries.
During this time of need, clubs and community sport hubs have been offering their support by supplying food provisions to those most in need in their communities, demonstrating how sport can go above and beyond to aid Scotland’s recovery during this unprecedented time.
Fairfield Community Sports Hub
A community sport hub in Dundee has turned its sports pavilion into a food larder to ensure everyone in the local community has enough supplies.
Fairfield Community Sports Hub, like many other hubs in the network, brings together sport clubs and community organisations who want to develop and grow the sporting offering in their community to develop a welcoming, safe and fun environment for sport.
But Fairfield CSH have gone the extra mile, stepping in to ensure hundreds of families have food after learning many in the local area were going without.
Committee member Jim Sorrie and his fellow Fairfield CSH members have opened up their Drumgeith Pavilion twice a week to store and supply food donations from the local community and supermarkets during lockdown.
The hub identified a high number of local people were struggling to access or afford basic provisions, and the hub has been open for members of the public to visit and help themselves to ensure they had adequate food for the week.
A delivery service has also been running to deliver food packages to those who have been self-isolating or unable to get to the pavilion.
Although launched during the original lockdown, the food larder is still operating to accommodate the needs of the community.
Jim explained: “The social club is obviously shut and will be for sometime and the pavilion has been out of use for a while so we saw the opportunity to open the pavilion up and help the local community.
“We thought we would maybe get around 20 people needing supplies and we wouldn’t be that busy, but on the first day we provided over 60 families with food.
"Everyone in the community has really been rallying around to help and we are looking to keep the larder going, as there is definitely a need out there.”
Alison Mackenzie, community sport hub officer for Dundee, said: "Through understanding their local community, the committee of Fairfield CSH acknowledged that when the country was placed into lockdown, many members of their community would struggle to put food on the table.
"The volunteers responded quickly to link with a variety of partners and set up the food larder, which has meant so much to local recipients and brought the community closer together."
Bute Shinty Club
A shinty club on the Isle of Bute has been playing its part in supporting the island over lockdown.
In partnership with Argyll and Bute Council, Bute Shinty Club, which is part of Rothesay CSH, have been helping to coordinate and deliver food parcels and other essential supplies across the island to those in need. With sport on hold, the club has also been able to provide its team minibus to support the delivery of the food parcels.
Club secretary Alan Liddell said: “A number of our members wanted to support the community during this time and deliver food parcels twice a week to around 20 homes on the island. Seeing as no sport was taking place and we had a minibus sitting unused, we felt like we could offer this to help deliver the food parcels and do our bit for the community.
“We were part of a large number of groups involved in delivering the parcels, which shows the real community effort and bringing out the best in what rural communities are about.”
As well as delivering food parcels, the club encouraged its members to stay active through lockdown by organising a charity event to walk or run 1,000 miles during the month of May.
The club managed to raise just under £1,500 for the local hospital and smashing its target by covering 1569 miles in the process.
Luncarty FC Youth Soccer School
A group of young footballers have been supporting their local community by providing meals on wheels to those who are shielding.
Aged between nine and 13, the players from Luncarty FC Youth Academy Soccer in Perth and Kinross have been helping elderly people in the village by collecting items from the local convenience store and delivering them to their door on bikes.
A1. There have been so many groups that have pulled together and been the heartbeat of their community.— Live Active Sport (@lal_sport) November 2, 2020
Big shout out to @LuncartyFC Youth Soccer School who provided meals on wheels to their local community. The players & coaches made Luncarty a happier place to be! 😄👌🏻 pic.twitter.com/BViIGvPL2O
The elderly people contacted the club coaches or called the shop directly to notify what supplies they needed. Players cycled to the shop to pick up the relevant food and deliver it to the person's door - and followed up with a conversation to see how they were getting on.
Luncarty coach Shaun Ewart said: “The young people wanted to feel more connected with their local community and gain respect from the older generation within the village.
"The project has been great as it has allowed the young people to take some responsibility and be part of the true meaning of the word community.
"I feel it has brought the community of Luncarty closer and you can see it has put a smile on everyone’s faces during a difficult time.
"Hopefully the players can look back in the not so distant future and understand how they have helped impact someone’s life positively.”