Newcastle United Foundation staff are volunteering their time delivering urgent food supplies to 2,000 children living in some of Newcastle’s most deprived neighbourhoods.
Following the Government’s decision to close all UK schools last week, all social and outdoor activities were cut to essential tasks only on Monday evening to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Many parents and guardians have been left in the difficult position of juggling family life with work, maintaining physical and mental wellbeing, and coping financially while providing for vulnerable loved ones.
As part of Newcastle United Foundation’s mission to connect, motivate and inspire communities, the entire workforce has adapted to become a point-of-call for organisations in need of assistance.
Since March 16th, the official charity of Newcastle United has supported partner organisation North East mixed multi Academy Trust (NEAT), by helping to deliver food parcels to children who would ordinarily receive free school meals.
NEAT – which oversees Benfield School, Central Walker Primary School, Tyneview Primary School, Walkergate Community School and West Walker Primary School – has identified around 2,000 children who will be without free school meals during the indefinite school closure period.
On Wednesday morning, Foundation staff were invited to help relief efforts on a voluntary-basis and only to complete work deemed “essential” by NEAT and Newcastle City Council.
Head of Newcastle United Foundation, Steve Beharall, said: “Working with NEAT, Newcastle City Council, partners and volunteers, we have been able to arrange the safe delivery of 10,000 food parcels and vouchers across Byker, Walker and Walkergate.
“We wanted to particularly support families without access to the internet who might not have received e-vouchers for essential food items during this extremely difficult period.
“Families have been so grateful for the support and it has been fantastic to be part of the delivery process today.”
He added: “Everyone volunteering at Benfield School has been sticking to strict social distancing rules, as well as wearing protective clothing to ensure their safety and the safety of others.
“As we move forward, our charity will continue to respect the latest Government and NHS advice to help overcome COVID-19, carrying out only ‘essential’ work in the community when it is safe to do so.
“In the meantime, Foundation staff are continuing their work from home and are adapting their routines to include regular calls to elderly participants, creating worksheets to be posted out and running online quizzes to reduce social isolation.”
To ensure the safety of all staff and the wider community, the Foundation’s offices at St. James’ Park are now closed with staff working from home.
The official charity arm of Newcastle United is also supporting Club, Academy and Foundation staff working from home on maintaining physical and mental wellness, work resources and tips for employees now home-schooling their children.