Best Covid-19 Community Response – Non-Premier League
Dons Local Action Group with AFC Wimbledon Foundation
Dons Local Action Group (DLAG), part of the AFC Wimbledon Foundation, was started in March 2020 by a small group of long-time AFC Wimbledon fans who strongly felt that as a community club, there was a responsibility to help local people affected by Covid-19.
Since then, an army of over 2,000 registered volunteers has worked tirelessly in the London boroughs of Merton, Wandsworth and Kingston to help people most in need – those falling through the gaps and without access to the basics such as food and education.
In just ten months we have delivered over 140,000 food boxes to individuals, families, food banks, community kitchens and shelters for victims of domestic abuse and the homeless. Our Keep Kids Connected campaign through which we collect, refurbish and distribute donated laptops has ensured that over 1,200 under-privileged children can continue their education from home. We have sourced and delivered more than 175 items of furniture and appliances.
Having worked collaboratively with over 135 aid organisations, charities, schools, local councils, MPs and businesses, we are recognised as a nimble, effective and approachable organisation and have now become a permanent operation tackling food, digital and furniture poverty in the community.
The 2019/20 season was set up to be an historic one for Brentford Football Club – The Bees bid farewell to their beloved Griffin Park and looked ahead to life at Brentford Community Stadium.
The pandemic put the Club’s celebration plans on hold though and instead they focused their off-field efforts on supporting fans and the local community during this difficult time. Together with Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, Brentford reached out with their #BeeAtHome and #BeeWell campaigns to encourage children and adults to stay active at home and look after their mental wellbeing and delivered pizzas to local families in need of a Christmas treat. They also supported the NHS and South Western Railway with their campaigns on how to stay safe and worked with Directors, players, staff and fans to raise money and increase donations for Hounslow Community FoodBox. The Bees supported their fans by calling to check in on them and found innovative ways to allow them to say their goodbyes to Griffin Park and ‘be there’ for those special last moments even when games were behind closed doors. At their new stadium, new fan engagement ideas continue with Virtual Mascots, Buzz at Your Door and more.
Ashton Gate Stadium – Bristol City FC
We are a unique proposition as the football club is part of a larger sporting group model all owned by the Lansdown family (referred to as Bristol Sport). Steve Lansdown, CBE has often been quoted as saying “We support the community and the community supports us” – never has that been more important than through this crisis. When the pandemic struck, we were able to harness the power of the sporting group to ensure our community response was co-ordinated, strategic and sustainable for the long-term.
This submission will focus on the work that the football club and stadium have done to combat food poverty during the pandemic. It’s also worth noting the enormous work done by our sporting group’s charities (Bristol Sport Foundation, Robins Foundation and Bristol Bears Foundation) to adapt to virtual training sessions, educational learning and contact time with our community to help people of all ages and ability to remain active and healthy.
At the time of submission more than 1000 tonnes of food (the equivalent of 2.3 million meals) has been distributed directly from Ashton Gate Stadium. Our charities have delivered more than 50,000 meals to those most in need in our immediate community.