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Peterhead footballers join Festive Friends campaign to reduce isolation

By Kirsty Brown

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Peterhead FC brought Christmas cheer to those that needed it most this year by taking part in the biggest ever Festive Friends programme.

Festive Friends is an opportunity for clubs to give back to their local communities, and the programme is now in its sixth year with 41 SPFL clubs taking part in the campaign this year.

The campaign had its largest ever fund this year, a total of £100,000, meaning the programme could support over 3000 people this year.

It's been a tough few years for everyone due to Covid-19, but it has been especially difficult for the elderly who are at higher risk of social isolation.

Festive Friends brings Christmas cheer and companionship to elderly people who are socially isolated and at risk of being alone during the festive season.

Almost 4,000 people have enjoyed an event in the last five years and last year’s new-look initiative, when it was not possible to hold events due to physical distancing rules, was also a huge success with over 2,800 people receiving Christmas hampers in doorstep visits.

Lomond the Lion launched the Festive Friends campaign. Image courtesy of Craig Watson
Lomond the Lion launched the Festive Friends campaign. Image courtesy of Craig Watson

Hampers contained food, snacks, essential toiletries, gifts, games and more.

Some clubs even brought video messages from managers and players; others had players make personal deliveries.

This year club staff and volunteers visited participants with hampers and welcomed them to their ground to enjoy a hot Christmas lunch, fun and games, a club gift, and transport there and home.

SPFL Trust CEO Nicky Reid said: "Festive Friends is a real highlight of the year for me and my colleagues at SPFL clubs.

"It's all about good old fashioned Christmas spirit - bringing club staff and volunteers together to reach elderly people who are at risk of social isolation.

"Scottish football is trusted to support, and our recent research shows that almost 83 percent of people live within ten miles of a SPFL ground - because of this clubs and their associated community trusts are well positioned to effect this type of change in their communities.

"This year 41 SPFL clubs are involved making it our biggest programme yet, supported by a record breaking fund of £100,000. "

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