Looking Back on a year since Lockdown
It has been a year since we were all at LHFC took by surprise and entered into lockdown for the first time. When reminiscing about the last 12 months, there is only one place we can begin, and it is thinking about the many thousands of people who have lost their lives as a result of covid-19, as well as their family and friends.
The past 12 months have undoubtedly been one of the biggest challenges for our whole country from the introduction of social distancing and wearing face coverings to the endless hours of home schooling. However, we knew from the beginning our city needed us!
Throughout the difficulties of the previous year, we have adapted and continued to support the more disadvantaged people of Liverpool. When football was paused, our hearts felt heavy. For our organisation the game is more than just football, it can provide a lifeline for our members.
Start of the Pandemic
At the very beginning of the pandemic, we felt a little lost without a ball at our feet. However, we knew it was time to adapt to continue to support our city. As we continued to stay in touch with our members through the new technology of Zoom, it wasn’t the same as our face to face interactions. It was also evident from the digital conversations with our members that it was becoming increasingly difficult to access food banks.
Due to the strain on foodbanks in our city, we teamed up with local business in order to support our members. Our small team got together to arrange food deliveries for struggling families in isolation as well as our members. The deliveries included, weekly meals, food necessities and also toiletries and children essentials.
During the food delivery project and working with families that don’t usually access our services, it became apparent that people across Merseyside needed our support now more than ever. We where overwhelmed with the thanks from the communities we served. This encouraged our team to continue with the project for the rest of the year, and the project became part of the official government support.
When planning for our annual Christmas Toy Appeal during a global pandemic, we knew Santa had to become creative. Due to the lockdown, isolation and restrictions, it was made clear that our team had to adapt, to ensure a safe and joyful Christmas. While the usual strategy was in place, just on a bigger scale. Santa and our team also took Christmas digital.
When it came to taking Santa digital, we were amazed at the response to our digital wish list. Our elves worked with local domestic abuse hostels to choose gifts for children aged 0-18 and then launched our Amazon wish list. From the very beginning of our campaign the parcels kept on coming, slowly but surely filling Santa’s sacks.
One of our proudest achievements of 2020, was partnering with the national brand, Home Bargain’s. Our elves entered 10 stores across Liverpool with boxes for customers to fill with gifts, which would be donated to children living in domestic abuse accommodation across the city. We also received the amazing opportunity to enter supermarkets such as Asda, Tesco, Iceland and Morrison’s. The exposure across the city was a massive benefit to our campaign and ensured the many disadvantaged children across the city, woke up with presents on Christmas morning.
Our Christmas campaign also entered the corporate world, with partnerships from amongst others Merseyside Police, Huge Media and National Rail. All companies took part in collecting gifts as well as fundraising activities. The team at Merseyside Police had great fun at their Christmas Jumper Day.
As a result of adapting, our team hit a record high collecting over 5,000 gifts for children living in domestic abuse and homeless accommodation. From the bottom of our hearts we would like to thank everyone involved in this project, as we have seen first-hand the difference it makes in our city.
As well as our usual Christmas campaign and because of the global pandemic we knew we had to do more. Therefore, we launched a new project called ‘Christmas in a Box’. Offering disadvantaged families everything they needed for the full Christmas Day experience. The campaign partnered with a number of organisations such as: Morrison’s, Tesco, Asda and Pyjama Party Liverpool. The box included everything that families needed for an enjoyable Christmas, from a full Christmas dinner, decorations, toys and even Christmas Eve pyjamas. Together we managed to create a magical Christmas for over 50 families across the city.
Looking Forward – 2021
At the beginning of 2021 our organisation had a more focused campaign to improve mental health. We recognised the need for some positive acts across our city to improve mental health. In doing so, we offered a number of positive activities from mindfulness and yoga to engaging in daily conversation.
One of our most successful events during our mental health campaign was teaming up with Amy Brett PT (a local personal trainer), to offer people the chance of a free workout on social media. Whether people used the workout to shift some lockdown pounds or to just stay active, the aim of the collaboration was to recognise the importance of looking after your physical health to improve and maintain your mental health.
Another section of the campaign included teaming up with local businesses to offer the ‘Ultimate Selfcare Giveaway’ on Instagram. The giveaway included personal training sessions with Amy Brett PT, a sweet treat from Gift & Graze, 1-1 Yoga sessions with Yoga Megs, Meal Prep from Macro Balance, Healing Gift set from Bohemian Accessories and Chocolate covered strawberries from Daisy Berries. It was amazing to team up with local businesses who also understood the importance of reaching out and supporting our communities. We decided to make this a public competition to encourage all our supporters to understand the importance of self-care when it comes to a positive mental health.
Covid – A Year On
As the phased reopening is being announced, we can finally envision the ball hitting the back of the net once again. We are excited for our team to get out of the usual zoom attire and come back better than ever.
Currently, we are turning the Easter Bunny digital, with our Easter Egg Campaign. We would again, like to thank everyone for the continued support of our appeal and we are already on track to hit yet another record high.
On behalf of our team, our CEO Mr John Finnigan would like to say a huge thank you to all members. Never forget we will always be there for you. We would also like to thank everyone who has made it possible for us to continue including: donators, volunteers, staff, sponsors and board members.
The previous 12 months have been difficult for us all. However, please all remeber together we have made a difference in our city during these difficult times.