Liverpool FC staff volunteers have been working alongside the club’s community programme, Red Neighbours, and its official charity, LFC Foundation, to help local people throughout the city during the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of the ‘Unity is Strength’ project, staff from across the club have volunteered their time to help a range of initiatives, including the North Liverpool Foodbank, the club’s LFC Connect programme, and delivering treats and welfare packages to key workers and those in need.
LFC Connect calls take place on weekdays between 9am and 4pm, offering a friendly chat to help reduce feelings of isolation among those most vulnerable within the local community.
Bev Phillips, fan services specialist, felt compelled to help in some way as soon as the nationwide lockdown was announced in March.
“I registered straight away for the staff volunteering scheme as I just wanted to do my bit to help others during this tough time,” said Bev.
“When the LFC Connect service was launched I knew that was something I really wanted to be involved in.
“It’s benefited so many people already. Some of the people I’ve spoken to, they have no family close to them, so just knowing we will be calling them every week makes such a huge difference. It brightens their day, lets them know that people do care and they are not completely alone during this time. A small act of kindness can make such a big difference to someone else’s day.”
As someone who is also spending lockdown alone, Bev credits the volunteering scheme with helping her own mental wellbeing as well as those she has spoken to through the programme.
She added: “I’m self-isolating on my own, so the interaction has really benefited me as well. Just something as simple as having a conversation with someone not only gives them a lift but also adds a lot of positivity to your own day.”
Alongside making calls with LFC Connect, Bev has also volunteered at the North Liverpool Foodbank, helping to ensure it can continue its vital service during the lockdown by unloading food deliveries and packing three-day emergency food parcels for those in need.
LFC staff volunteers attend the foodbank in two-hour time slots from Monday to Friday and follow strict protection guidelines to ensure their safety and the safety of others, including social distancing, wearing personal protective equipment and regular hand washing/sanitising.
The central foodbank hub, which has been turned into the city’s main food storage venue, was also sprayed with sanitiser by infection control specialists in advance of the volunteering beginning.
Bev said: “The foodbanks have been massively affected by the lockdown and the absence of football matches, so again it was something I felt really strongly about getting involved in.
“It’s been so nice to see people from across the city working for the greater good and helping those less fortunate. It’s saddening to know these services need to exist, but at the same time it’s been inspiring to see so many people give up their time to help others.”
The LFC Connect initiative is open to anyone in the areas of north Liverpool and Kirkby and supporters interested in signing up can do so by contacting Christine Mounsey from the Red Neighbours team on 07701 320 455.
Alternatively, those who wish to email rather than chat on the phone can access the service by contacting RedNeighbours@liverpoolfc.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.