LFC Foundation: Liverpool's charity work in coronavirus pandemic
By Vinny O'Connor, Sky Sports News reporter
Last Updated: 28/03/20 6:28pm
Saturday should have been the pinnacle of the fundraising year for the LFC Foundation. Another Anfield sell out was due to host the legends match between Liverpool and Barcelona, raising vital funds for many of those members of our society that the sporting shutdown is trying to protect.
"In terms of the fundraising, yes, it will be tighter," admitted Foundation director Matt Parish. "But we work on the basis that the legends game isn't cancelled, it is postponed.
"The importance of the charity game is the other charities we are able to support and what we want to do is get the game back on, when it is safe to do so, to enable us to support those charities and the great work they do."
Today, @LFC Legends were set to play @FCBarcelona Legends, in what would have been a sold out Anfield Stadium.— LFC Foundation (@LFCFoundation) March 28, 2020
But we all understand right now that we must stay strong, stay safe and stay at home.
We'll be back.
You'll Never Walk Alone.#UnityIsStength pic.twitter.com/OOLxdATzwM
Two weeks ago, when the football season was first put on hold, there was an immediate need to help out one local charity. 25 per cent of all donations to the North Liverpool Foodbank come from Liverpool home games. With no football, there was a big hole to fill.
"Jordan Henderson kicked off the fundraising campaign with his call to fans [to support the foodbanks]," says Parish. "The players made a £20k donation which we, as the LFC foundation, matched. That plugged the gap and a bit more.
"There is a definite feeling of we are all in it together. For instance Alisson Becker has been involved in the WHO messaging about hand washing, hygiene and staying safe. The players are all behind it, they're all engaged."
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Maintaining engagement with participants during a global pandemic is a bit more tricky. Early on, the coronavirus outbreak forced the shutdown of the Red Neighbours outreach scheme to tackle social isolation.
With many of the participants in the vulnerable category, this had to be done and, subsequently, the Foundation's educational programmes went the same way.
But that doesn't mean work stops. For now, the method of delivery may have changed, but the significance of their role is heightened.
"I like what someone said to me the other day: creativity and connectivity. How can we creatively stay in contact with all our participants and as many supporters and other people connected with club as we can?
"Debbie Moore [wife of the club's chief executive Peter Moore], our chair-based yoga teacher, has videoed sessions for the people who take part so they can still carry on. Our staff have been videoing content so participants can carry on with their physical activity.
"There's also been academic content put together, working with the Premier League and the Premier League All Stars programme. And we will continue with phone calls and video calls to the more vulnerable participants.
"For instance, for the elderly members of the community or if you're a young person who comes to one of our disability inclusion sessions on a Wednesday night, obviously that's not going to be running for a while, but you can get some advice and guidance and still have that point of contact with us."