The football club was the first in Scotland to set up a community help scheme. The Community Help Initiative (CHI) was announced on the 14th March, the day after the suspension of football. The club immediately launched this support mechanism for the most vulnerable people and the initiative has grown enormously since then. Stenhousemuir Football Club is now delivering the most comprehensive community help scheme of any football club in Scotland with almost 500 people involved.
The initiative offers a dedicated helpline open 24/7 which is managed by 5 people, a mixture of directors, staff and volunteers. The helpline is currently averaging 30 calls per day and has been running for 10 weeks.
Support for the elderly and those with underlying health conditions
The initiative has recruited over 140 volunteers and 120 of these volunteers have been paired with a vulnerable person or household in the local area. Predominantly this covers Stenhousemuir, Larbert, Carron, Carronshore and Airth however the Club is also supporting a small number of people out with these areas including Bainsford, Bonnybridge and Grangemouth. The volunteers provide regular assistance to that individual/household in the form of collecting shopping and prescriptions, walking dogs, and calling them to check in on them during this period of isolation.
Support for at risk young people to combat child hunger
The CHI is delivering 200 lunches per day to families who qualify for free school meals but are unable to collect them, supporting the most at-risk young people in the community. This includes all Larbert High School pupils who qualify and all 8 of the Larbert cluster primary schools. This was then extended to include all St Mungo’s High School pupils. The Club is therefore delivering 1000+ lunches per week using a team of 15 drivers daily.
Warriors Homemade Meals
Another strand of the CHI is the production and delivery of home cooked meals for vulnerable people in the area. The Club sourced a chef, purchases all the food and takes orders from the people within the Clubs care. The Club then utilises a team of 12 drivers to deliver these meals on a Tuesday and Friday morning. At present the Club is delivering 250 meals a week. These meals are provided completely free of charge to the vulnerable people who are accessing this service.
Vulnerable Families and food pantry support
The final part of the CHI is the delivery of food parcels. At present the Club delivers 300 food bags every Thursday afternoon to at risk families in the area on behalf of the schools and the food pantry managed by Keeping Larbert & Stenhousemuir Beautiful. These are families identified through the school network as living in areas of deprivation. The CHI ensures these families are receiving vital food packages every week by delivering the parcels to the households. The Club also turned Ochilview Park into a food pantry for 2 weeks over the Easter holidays, setting up a food bank for donations and making up and delivering all the food parcels from the Club for those 2 weeks.
The club also set up a virtual library giving out free books to our community and gifted 500 bedding plants to vulnerable people in our community.
Overall CHI is supporting 300 families/households per week through the services it provides and has been doing so for 10 weeks. The current totals are 500+ shopping trips, 5000 lunches, 600 food parcels and over 1000 free meals. The club has committed to delivering the CHI for as long as the community requires its services.
The Club is working with a number of partners including Keeping Larbert & Stenhousemuir Beautiful, Carron Bathrooms, Larbert High School Charity, The Larbert Round Table, CVS, Falkirk Council, Tryst Community Sports Clubs, local councillors and all local schools.
(Update provided by Stenhousemuir FC)