Our Football for Food campaign has involved AFC Unity as a club encouraging players, management and supporters from both teams alongside the general public to come to our home games not only to watch a good game of grassroots football but also to bring donations of food that we then distribute to local Sheffield food banks, especially Fir Vale, Parson Cross, Firth Park, S2, and S20. The campaign is also about raising awareness of the extent of food poverty, the reasons for why more and more people are going to food banks to not only help increase the donations but also tackle any misconceptions and stigma for why food banks exist.
We have collected 931 kilograms of food at 26 events.
Football for Food Campaign Expansion
We received funding from Awards for All, Big Lottery Fund and Freshgate Trust Foundation to expand our Football for Food campaign, raising awareness of the extent and causes of food poverty – tackling misrepresentations and myths – which includes static incomes, rising living costs, low pay, underemployment and problems with welfare whilst collecting more food to distribute to local food banks. Thanks to the funding we were able to run the following events:
*Kick-Ups in Town: 19th of June 2016, Devonshire Green, 10am-6pm – at this event we ran a pop-up stall at Devonshire Green where we had donation buckets/containers to encourage donations of food for food banks, with a stall with information about the campaign (via leaflets), whilst players from our 11-a-side teams handed out leaflets to members of the public and also attracted people by kicking the ball about and doing tricks and skills where possible. Players were sponsored to take part in the event by food. Through this event, we collected 133 items of food, working out at around 49 kilograms of food. The event was also covered on Sheffield Live.
*Pop-Up Quiz: 8th of July 2016, Union Street, 18-20 Union St, Sheffield S1 2JR, 6-9pm – at this event we organised a Football for Food general knowledge women’s focussed pop-up quiz where people entered to take part by bringing food to donate at the event! Through this event we collected 70 items of food, working out at around 28 kilograms of food.
*Football for Food 5-a-side Tournament: 16th of July 2016, 12-4pm, The U-Mix Centre, 17 Asline Rd, Sheffield S2 4UJ – AFC Unity, AFC Unity Jets, Yorkshire St Pauli, Mount Pleasant Park FC, Roundabout Utd, Clapton Ultras, Small Ideas FC, Easton Cowgirls and Mexborough Athletic all entered to take part in this tournament by donating food rather than paying to enter with spectators encouraged to bring food to donate as well. We also had the following speakers talking at the tournament:
*Gill Furniss, Member of Parliament for Sheffield Brightside & Hillsborough
*Carrie Dunn, a journalist, writing about sport – primarily women’s sport – and has covered events from World Cups to the Ashes to the Olympics
*Nick Waterfield, works in and around Parson Cross in North Sheffield for the Methodist Church and is the Chair of Sheffield Church Action on Poverty
*Debbie Matthews, CEO of Manor and Castle Development Trust for 11 years and one of the founder members of the S2 Food Bank
*Steve Clark, volunteered with the Sunday Centre – a project open every Sunday afternoon for homeless and other vulnerable people – for about 12 years and is their current Chair
At this event we collected 915 items of food, working out at around 355 kilograms of food alongside a £50.00 donation for the food banks. This is more than we collected in 11 events previous to this point (excluding the Sponsored Kick-ups and Pop-Up Quiz events!).
We also premièred 3 videos we have had made by local filmmaker Claire Watkinson for the campaign.
*11-a-side players volunteering at The Sunday Centre, 24th of July 2016 – The Sunday Centre provides a friendly shelter for homeless, isolated and vulnerable people where they can obtain refreshments and a cooked meal in the city centre on a Sunday afternoon. We volunteered to help with the serving of drinks and food to guests and chat.