Cambridge United’s Here for U’s scheme offers community support during coronavirus outbreak
Cambridge United has launched ‘Here For U’s’, a scheme offering practical, emotional and physical support to the local community during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Residents aged over 70 can call a community careline number - 01223 632129 - to ask for help with everyday needs - from picking up prescriptions or shopping to walking the dog.
The helpdesk, running from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday, will call on an army of volunteers, staff and local services to provide the help.
Local residents can also call for a friendly chat or details of additional support services available.
The club’s first-team players and coaches have been in isolation, after one member was in contact with somebody who later tested positive for the coronavirus.
But United said they will take part when their period of isolation is concluded.
“We pride ourselves on being a mentally healthy club,” said the U’s.
Meanwhile, the club’s kitchens are being used to provide food for those in need. United are working with Cambridge City Council and other local partners such as the Food Poverty Alliance and Cambridge Sustainable Food, and the club has a minibus available for deliveries.
It has also teamed up with Cambridge Foodbanks to encourage donations, with staff collecting items from those in self-isolation. And the club has been in touch with schools to see if they need help delivering free school meals.
United are also looking to help with maintaining physical fitness and wellbeing too through digital methods, including virtual community bootcamps for all age groups and other ways of staying mentally healthy and fit with the first team.
The first online bootcamp took place last Wednesday on the club’s and community trust’s Facebook pages.
Sam Gomarsall, United’s community trust manager, said: “Here for U’s is all about providing the people who need it with practical, emotional and physical support.
“These are unprecedented times and the cub wants to do everything it can to play its part in helping the community through it. We will need volunteers so please get in touch if you think you can help.”
Ian Mather, Cambridge United’s CEO, said: “This is a really difficult time for everyone and we want to do everything we can to help. We will always be United for Cambridge and this is the time to show it most.
“The trust is doing great work already and with no football for the foreseeable future the new ‘Here for Us’ scheme will now become the main focus of the club.”
The community trust staff have already phoned more than 100 elderly participants from projects such as the club’s seniors’ afternoon tea, seniors’ lunch and the United by Memories Dementia Sports Café.
The club said work is also well under way to prepare academic content that demonstrates how sport can be used as a tool for education to young people.
Among those also working with United are volunteers at Barnwell Baptist Church.
Want to offer your help for Here for U’s? Email: email@example.com or call the community careline on 01223 632129.
More by this authorPaul Brackley