Sported marks Thank You Day by celebrating the efforts made by groups

By Sported |  2nd July 2021

Sunday 4th July marks the UK’s biggest ever thank you party, Thank You Day and Sported has taken the opportunity to thank all the wonderful people in the Sported network who have gone the extra mile to support their community through the pandemic. 

Here are just a few of the inspirational groups from the Sported network who have been out there responding and reacting to the changing needs of their communities during the pandemic. 

Baggator in Bristol has worked in the local community from its inception in 1999, to create a friendly and safe out-of-school environment for young people.

Stuart Phelps, the Chair of the group, explained that as the country went into lockdown “poverty, anxiety and needs shot up – many of our friends and neighbours were in marginal employment and simply lost their income; no furlough or support for self-employed Uber drivers, for example. Young people were abandoned to their own devices, if their parents lacked the means (time/money) to protect them.

So, we launched the ‘Baggator Nexus’ – we linked up with like-minded groups and organisations like BMCS [Bristol Muslim Cultural Society] and Super Supper Club and converted the building into a food hub cooking and distributing free cooked meals – often frozen, for ease of storage/transport – vegan, vegetarian, Halal.

Local businesses gave us free food and ingredients – not just the usual supermarket ‘end of sell-by date’ stuff, but also £100 per week of fresh meat, or ingredients, each week, every week. We were getting 600+ meals a week out the door. It’s important to say that nothing would have been achieved if it hadn’t been for some key, but perhaps less visible, people – like the two women who’ve cleaned everything overnight, every night, which meant we had 100s of volunteers pass through, and no-one ever caught Covid-19 in the building.”

Credit: Lorne Campbell (The Times)

Seb Glazer from Vulcan Boxing explains how they have adapted through the pandemic to meet the needs in his community in Hull:

“We worked all the way through the lockdowns and I was delivering food parcels at the weekends. I haven’t taken a day off in over a year… we tried to support some of the young people online and some at the premises educationally and with welfare checks and making sure they were OK. We did food parcel drops. The centre has done amazing work. Across everything, with fitness, education and now food delivery we reach 6 times the number of people we were meeting before. We are growing but the need is growing and we have a big gap to fill.”

NICCA Angling

Scott Lonsdale, from the Northern Ireland Cross Community Angling group, points out how they helped local people combat isolation during the pandemic as their “waterways have continued to be used by individuals, as each stand is 6 metres apart and accessible. All stands have been fully booked out -and it’s been pretty hectic for the committee to manage all the admin and bookings! The limited bankside conversations have been a ‘lifeline’ to so many, particularly those more elderly who might genuinely not talk to anyone else in a day. The club has been utilising social media more and continuing with monthly emails and online interactions with members.”

ASPIRE Community and Wrestling Alliance in Derby have a close relationship to their local council (and having previously ran a small food bank before) were asked to run an emergency food hub.

As Rob Shade explains, “We rapidly found ourselves knocking on doors to check if people were well or even breathing as well as delivering food… we found ourselves effectively becoming emergency social workers…. We found ourselves working extremely closely with the council and helping with issues such as gas and electric, lack of furniture, clothing and making several safeguarding reports on real life issues we were finding at doorsteps, we also started delivering city wide for the NHS for vulnerable pregnant ladies”.

Doing all of this while running several weekly Zoom sessions for their wrestlers, they also started a gardening service with the local council amongst other iniatives. To date, they have fed over 16,000 people and continue this while working to get their wrestling sessions back to full capacity.

In addition, at Brighton Table Tennis Club some members have taken up running, linking with each other over Strava, they have delivered 100s of zoom shows and have run a successful food hub, which the church is going to take on in the future.

“We all know what an incredibly challenging time everyone has been through during the Covid-19 pandemic. Thank You Day provides a wonderful opportunity to thank those who have supported their communities. We would like to send out a huge ‘Thank you!’ from all of us at Sported to the the community sports groups in the Sported network – they really have been a lifeline to many young people.

The group leaders were already ‘local heroes’ pre-Covid but the pandemic has just reinforced what amazing people they are in the way they are able to support others around them, despite facing such tough times themselves.  We will be joining in with the communal Thank You Day action, of raising a glass, and thanking you all this Sunday.”

Tom Bustow Deputy CEO – Sported

The idea of Thank You Day came from a grassroots campaign to hold the country’s biggest ever thank you party in our local communities, as a way of thanking each other and of building on the community spirit that so many felt during lock down. 

From the idea being launched just a month ago, the campaign has won huge support from hundreds of organisations ranging from the NHS to the Scouts and from high profile individuals including Gary Lineker, Michael Sheen, Dame Judi Dench, Raheem Sterling and many more. All events will be in line with current government guidance.

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