Coatbridge Rovers have been recognised by the Scottish Parliament in their efforts to help the local community during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Fulton MacGregor, the MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston, said in Parliament that Rovers, alongside many other clubs, have: “used their unique reach to connect people and organisations right across the country.
He continued that Parliament notes “their current role in helping deliver frontline services, harness the power of volunteers and offer alternative online educational opportunities and believes the clubs are playing a valuable role during these difficult times”.
Gary Flint, Rovers’ Chairman, was full of praise for everyone involved: “For the club to receive recognition has been great to see and I can’t thank everyone at the club enough for the support they are offering to everyone at this time.”
Like many clubs around the country – such as Cumbernauld Colts and Holytown Colts, who were also mentioned by Mr GacGregor - the North Lanarkshire side acted swiftly to help out their local community following the news of lockdown, which of course meant a blanket postponement of all football activities.
Instead of taking to the pitch, the Rovers have been collecting shopping and prescriptions for the vulnerable, to prevent them from having to leave their homes, as well as donating sleeping bags for the homeless - with 30 donated right at the start of lockdown as well as supporting those in need within their community.
Gary continued: “Over the course of lockdown our aim has been to help everyone connected to the club and make sure they have all been safe and well.
“We then offered our support to the community in Coatbridge by doing daily shopping, picking up prescriptions, to just being available for a chat. It’s been fantastic. The kids have also been checking on the neighbours to make sure everybody is safe and well.”
However, it hasn’t only been those most vulnerable that the Rovers have focused their efforts on to during this time.
With over 130 youngsters on their books, the club have created football challenges, educational work training packs, bingo and quizzes via Zoom in order to try and support them with the changes they are having to adapt with. There has been a hugely positive response, with the mixture of activities allowing the kids to develop mentally and still interact socially with teammates and friends.
Alongside their community efforts, Rovers are also planning an initiative with the aim to help promote health and wellbeing in their local area. They’re doing this with a 500-mile ‘Walk-Run-Cycle’ starting on June 1, with their players, coaches, and parents taking part.
Gary explained: “For the full month of June we are promoting positive health and wellbeing where we have 186 people signed up to complete 500 miles [collectively]. We are asking everyone to compete one mile a day for the ‘Walk-Run-Cycle’. We also have a mental health group on Tuesday nights and are raisings funds to continue to run the club for the community and also we want to support our local foodbank with donations and NHS Lanarkshire.”
To help drum up funds for the ‘Run-Walk-Cycle’, the club have created a Just Giving Page, should people wish to contribute, with half of the proceeds going to Coatbridge Rovers Mental Health Club, a quarter to the Local Foodbank and the final quarter to NHS Lanarkshire.
To donate to their cause, please click here.