Street Soccer are proud to be continuing the delivery of food parcels to those in need around Edinburgh, in partnership with YMCA.
We were founded on the principles of helping those experiencing isolation, inactivity, homelessness, mental health issues, addiction, poverty, long-term unemployment, and to those new to Scotland and adjusting to life here. That’s why it was crucial we were on hand to support local communities as the effects of the pandemic and lockdown started to have an impact across Edinburgh.
We started delivering food and supplies in March 2020 as the globe started to get to grips with a new way of engaging with one another. This meant that Street Soccer had to change how they supported our players, staff and the wider community with their own health and wellbeing.
Street Soccer work with long standing partner organisation, YMCA Edinburgh, throughout the year to deliver youth programmes, playschemes, mentoring and holiday hunger clubs for families in Leith. With the enforced changes in both our services, we made the decision to team up and co-ordinate deliveries and food parcels around Leith and north Edinburgh consisting of nutritious meals, fresh bread, fruit and veg and other supplies. This response was made possible with four volunteer chefs based at YMCA and a small delivery team who carried out daily drop-offs for over 130 consecutive days during lockdown delivering up to 1000 meals per week to a wide range of recipients. Reaching vulnerable people, those in emergency accommodation, elderly people, families and people who were shielding or small team of staff and volunteers distributed tens of thousands of meals and food parcels with our volunteer chefs and drivers giving hundreds of hours of their time towards this initiative.
Part of the visits involved checking in on people in isolation and taking the opportunity to identify other needs such as baby food and clothing , toiletries, nappies, birthday gifts for children, toys, iPads and kindles for kids, as well as arts and crafts activities packs, which were sent out weekly alongside large quantities of pet food to whoever was in need of it.
One service user highlighted the impact the deliveries had on her family, saying “‘The food deliveries have been the greatest help we have got during this difficult unprecedented time. With having two children and recently being made redundant, this service removed a lot of worries and allowed myself as mother to fully concentrate on the kids mental wellbeing.”
Another recipient told us that “just when I was ready to throw in the towel, YMCA and Street Soccer came along and saved the day’.”
In true football team spirit, the group continued to support their participants in Leith with phone calls and Zoom sessions over this challenging period. For some, lack of equipment and/or the costs of mobile data were a barrier to staying in touch with Street Soccer, their friends and family or other support services. We were able to supply mobile phones and help individuals with mobile data, enabling participation in the online meetings and maintaining social contact.
The work is far from over for Street Soccer Scotland and their experience during lockdown has shown them that for Leith and north Edinburgh in particular, demand for voluntary sector services may not have reached its peak. We are continuing to support families and individuals who need it and our free community food programme will continue for as long as its needed.
YMCA and Street Soccer continue to provide a free meals and essentials delivery service for a number of households who cannot attend in person. A big thank you to our amazing partners as well as the volunteers who keep these services running so smoothly.
For more information on these services, please get in touch with Robbie Wood at [email protected]