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IT IS OFTEN when community work is forced to stop, whether that be due to the extreme weather conditions experienced recently or the Covid-19 pandemic, that the importance of that work and those who co-ordinate it is really highlighted.
City of Liverpool FC in the Community, the community arm of the football club, carries out a number of initiatives throughout the region, some of which will need to be put on hold due to the coronavirus.
These include the walking-football and refugee-football sessions which are put on every Sunday. The importance of such events will be noted even more in their absence, as will the contributions made by the volunteers who organise and run them.
“Without volunteers, our community sessions would simply not happen,” says COLFC in the Community director Sean Lindblad.
“We have a number of volunteers from all walks of life all wanting to help out with the sessions we are delivering in the community.
“One of our main aims when encouraging volunteering is getting both local lads and refugees involved in coaching and working within our backroom team.
“It gives them valuable experience in a workplace environment so they can hopefully go on to gain employment within our city, either with ourselves or through other football clubs.”
Many of the refugees who attend these sessions and take part in the football-coaching initiatives have concerns at the moment — and not just about the coronavirus itself.
The worries for the most vulnerable in a community at this time extend to the wider effects of the virus such as access to groceries and household items — which can be a problem at the best of times — while some of the refugees don’t have a doctor to go to.
Foodbanks and food unions may struggle to access supplies, while donations could dry up as people begin to hoard food for themselves.
It’s for this reason that such donations are more important than ever and any money raised by community initiatives will be used to help those in crisis.
COLFC in the Community has set up a fundraising page before the Liverpool Spring 10K, which is currently scheduled to take place on May 3.
Even if it doesn’t go ahead it is important to raise the money regardless and these weekly football sessions have served as a reminder of how hard some sections of society are hit even when there isn’t a pandemic.
“Coaching teams of men from our community who live in constant uncertainty comes with its own unique issues,” says Lindblad.
“A lot of the refugee players are sent away to different cities by the Home Office. Some have been able to return home. A lot, unfortunately, only have the clothes they play in.
“We’ve had players playing in loafers, bare feet or using the training bibs as t-shirts as they don’t have anything else.
“We provide football boots for players that need them, which have been donated to us, and any kits or training gear donated to us is immediately distributed to those who have nothing.
“The money raised has, and always will, go to those who need it most in our community.”
This money will now be more important than ever, as will communication with those who are hardest hit and whose situation has now become even more uncertain than already was.
To find out more information on City of Liverpool FC in the Community, follow @COLFCcommunity on Twitter or visit colfccommunity.co.uk
To donate in order to help reach the £500 target ahead of the Liverpool Spring 10K, visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sean-lindblad
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