Staff and volunteers from Newcastle United and Newcastle United Foundation are joining together to support elderly and vulnerable supporters who face an extended period of isolation during the coronavirus outbreak.
Telephone calls are continuing to be made to around one thousand season-ticket holders, with priority being given to those who are deemed to need immediate support.
The Foundation’s Health and Wellbeing team is also telephoning all members of its Walking Football group, and has distributed mental health resources to Newcastle’s key NHS workers.
Head of the Foundation, Steve Beharall, said: “Many people are struggling at the moment during this extended period of self-isolation and our Buddy Scheme aims to reach out to as many vulnerable adults as possible.
“We have a list of 988 supporters on the buddy call system and each staff member will work through the list that they have been provided with, offering support in a similar way to what we have done with our Walking Footballer group.
“I am immensely proud of how our staff have responded and we will continue to look at how we can expand the scheme to reach as many of our older supporters as possible.”
The phone calls also act as an extension of the club’s existing Memory Café project, which usually meets monthly at St. James’ Park to allow those who feel lonely or isolated to meet and reminisce over a cup of tea or coffee.
Steve Beharall added: “We have seen just how much of a positive impact the Memory Café has had on some of our older supporters over the last year and the Foundation’s Be A Game Changer campaign has proved to be a helpful tool to combat stress and anxiety during this period of lockdown.”
Supporters who receive a phone call from the club are advised that callers will never ask for personal information such as a home address, date of birth or bank details.