Covid-19 Response

Just one year after the relaunch of St Mirren FC Charitable Foundation, nine programmes were being delivered and an additional three due to launch.

In March 2020, the delivery of these programmes was adapted from face-to-face to online, overnight. Unprecedented challenges were faced in the local community which St Mirren FC Charitable Foundation stepped up to address, including the need for homeschooling support and delivery of essential items to those most in need.

These challenges created new partnerships and strengthened relationships with those in the community. Albeit a challenging time, the resilience and strength demonstrated in the community and by the volunteers and staff was exceptional.

Increased communication

Keeping in regular contact with our community was vital during lockdown, which St Mirren FC Charitable Foundation prioritised, with an average of 1000 contacts reached per week. Webinars and seminars played a pivotal role, with educational and group support sessions in addition to pre-recorded and live workouts for adult participants.

The increased lines of communication were opened through extra WhatsApp groups, Zoom calls, emails and one-to-one ‘check in’ telephone calls with everyone in our database. These various lines of communication were key in identifying which individuals or families would benefit from added support whether that be food and essential items, financial advice, mental health assistance, simple befriender calls or help with childcare and homeschooling.

Essential Deliveries

From day one of lockdown in March 2020, St Mirren FC Charitable Foundation formed a strong partnership with Star Project (who already share a project with on our Men’s Shed) to deliver essential community outreach including food and medicine.

St Mirren FC Charitable Foundation pledged to secure food partners covering the bulk of the items needed, to raise awareness and create a call to action from our supporters in the community to donate essential items and to volunteer their time to deliver food parcels via the community fridges.

St Mirren FC Charitable Foundation was very fortunate in securing food partners from the following individuals and local companies:

  • Mannorview Leisure
  • Tesco Paisley, Starbucks GA
  • Gillian Robinson of Company Shop Renfrew
  • A&A Bakeries
  • George Naismith of Abercorn Dairies
  • Joe Ram Key Store in Shortroods
  • Gary McCaw of Bianco E Nero
  • Mr Michael Campbell & his associates throughout Renfrewshire, Langcraigs FC and Partick Thistle FC.
Thank you for the overwhelming kindness and support.

On Monday morning we liaised with Star to discuss which items were required for the week ahead which were identified from crisis calls received on a daily basis. Using social media, we would reach out to the public and contact our food partners. Then we would collect all items kindly donated, transport them to Star Project and they would organise and distribute the items to the individuals in need.

On average 35+ calls per day were made to Star’s community fridge project, this equated to 200+ households per week being supported with the total number of food parcels being delivered in excess of 6,000.

Activities for kids

It came to the attention of St Mirren FC Charitable Foundation that young people needed activities during lockdown to keep their minds and bodies active after contact from many Renfrewshire families. In response, our coaches created a three-month activity schedule for children aged between 3-12 years including:

  • Arts & crafts challenges
  • Quizzes
  • Football drills & exercises
  • Reading & poetry
  • Home baking
  • Gardening

Following the positive feedback received from this programme, there was inspiration and interest for the Online Summer camp.

Online Summer Camps

Saints Summer camp 2020 was transitioned to an all-online experience thanks to our team and partners. Linstone Housing funded the event making it a free and accessible experience to keep 100 young residents of Renfrewshire entertained and active throughout lockdown.

Kerrie, Craig and Michael and the coaches team created an interactive e-book packed with football activities and challenges. This included links to our YouTube channel demonstrating football techniques.

“Buddie boxes” were delivered to those in the camp which included all the essentials for the full camp experience:

  • Football
  • Mini-ball
  • Cones
  • Markers
  • Drawstring bag
  • Camp t-shirt
  • Water bottle
  • Tony Fitzpatrick’s Babakoochi storybook
  • An activity pack with pencils

‘Make A Saints Day’

Jim Goodwin (previous St Mirren Manager) and James Hunter (Head of Media) played a pivotal role in volunteering during the pandemic. Every Thursday in lockdown on Jim’s day off, he would pick up essential items, take them to Star and deliver essential food parcels and James would often accompany him.

In addition to physical support, Jim would also deliver emotional support by visiting the homes of families, socially distanced, who had reached out to us for help with loved ones who were ill and struggling mentally. Witnessing how much these visits from Jim meant to these incredible people was very moving and humbling, memories they and we will treasure for life.

Funding Support

At a time of significant loss of income, St Mirren FC fans and participants of our programmes were innovative and created fundraising ideas:

  • Ian Brown & his friend Paul who started off the antics with their charity chest waxing and also auctioned off precious shirts
  • Jamie Langfield for his shirt auction, the brilliant ‘Stripes on Friday’ where we saw all the fans don their strips and donate to our JustGiving page
  • Drums N’ Roses for their live charity set in the stadium
  • Gary Kerr kicking off our ‘Straight Outta Paisley’ T-Shirt sales with his kind donation
  • SMiSA for their kind donation and continued support
  • The Disabled Fans Council who generously donated and allowed us to grant the wish list of Elderslie Care Home
  • Ian Henderson of Henderson Properties for his generous donation and Paul McGrath of Consilium for his constant support

All of these random acts of kindness made a huge difference to the team and definitely helped get us through a challenging time. Thank you to everyone who volunteered their time and donations, the community came together in a difficult time.