Football for Food

Summary

Our Football for Food campaign is about 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 pass onto the Sheffield Food Collective who distribute it to the four Sheffield food banks they work with: Fir Vale, Parson Cross, Firth Park 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.

So far, we have collected 853 kilograms of food at 23 events.

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Further Information

2015/2016 Season

2015

  • AFC Unity vs. New Bohemians – at this home game we collected around 50 kilograms of food that the Sheffield Food Collective distributed to Fir Vale food bank.
  • AFC Unity vs. Shaw Lane Aquaforce – at this home game we collected 93 items of food working out at around 34 kilograms of food.
  • AFC Unity vs. Barnsley Ladies – at this home game we collected 30 items of food working out at around 11 kilograms of food.
  • AFC Unity vs. Mexborough Athletic – at this home game we collected 54 items of food working out at around 21 kilograms of food.
  • AFC Unity vs. Sheffield Wednesday Development – at this home game we collected 190 items of food working out at around 67 kilograms of food. Thanks to Asda on Chaucer Road and Concord Junior School for their donations at this game.

Sheffield Food Collective worked out that the food collected in 2015 equated to around 350 meals!

2016

  • AFC Unity vs. AFC Dronfield – at this home game we collected 97 items of food working out at around 36 kilograms of food.
  • AFC Unity vs. Rotherham United Development – at this home game we collected 70 items of food working out at around 28 kilograms of food.
  • AFC Unity vs. Edlington Royals – at this home game we collected 19 items of food working out at around 7 kilograms of food.
  • AFC Unity vs. Team Hallam Women’s Development – at this match we collected 34 items of food working out around 12 kilograms of food. This was organised as part of Sheffield Hallam University’s Student Volunteer Week.
  • AFC Unity’s End of Season Awards and Launch of the Football for Food Campaign Expansion! – at this event we collected 31 items of food working out around 12 kilograms of food.
  • AFC Unity’s Sarah Richards Testimonial – at this event we collected 170 items of food working out around 61 kilograms of food.

2016/2017 Season

2016

  • AFC Unity vs. Shaw Lane Aquaforce – at this home game we collected 15 items of food working out at around 5 kilograms of food.
  • AFC Unity vs. Sheffield United Reserves – at this home game we collected 11 items of food working out at around 5 kilograms of food.
  • AFC Unity vs. Worksop Town – at this home game we collected 43 items of food working out at around 17 kilograms of food.
  • AFC Unity vs. Barnsley Ladies Development – at this home game we collected 20 items of food working out at around 7 kilograms of food.

2017

  • AFC Unity vs. Worksop Town Juniors – at this home game we collected 52 items of food working out at around 17 kilograms of food.
  • AFC Unity vs. Mexborough Athletic – at this home game we collected 43 items of food working out at around 15 kilograms of food. We also encouraged the donation of menstrual care products as part of Football for Free Periods announced in the Huffington Post.
  • AFC Unity vs. Rovers Foundation – at this home game we collected 19 items of food working out at around 8 kilograms of food.
  • AFC Unity vs. Chesterfield Ladies – at this home game we collected 24 items of food working out at around 8 kilograms of food.

Football for Food Campaign Expansion

Thanks to funding from Awards for All, Big Lottery Fund and Freshgate Trust Foundation we were able to run the following events as part of our Football for Food Campaign Expansion to raise more food and also focus on increasing awareness around food poverty:

  • Sponsored City Centre Kick-Ups – through this event we collected 133 items of food, working out at around 49 kilograms of food.
  • Pop-up Quiz – through this event we collected 70 items of food, working out at around 28 kilograms of food.
  • 5-a-side Tournament – at this event we collected 915 items of food, working out at around 355 kilograms of food alongside collecting a £50.00 donation for the food banks.
  • The Sunday Centre – we volunteered to help serve food and drink to vulnerable and homeless people at The Sunday Centre.

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As a club we are spearheading a campaign to raise awareness of food poverty in the city – and our collaborations with Sheffield Food Collective and club sponsor Nourish are key to our goal of “Football for Food.”

AFC Unity was set up to reach beyond football, harking back to the grassroots game being rooted in the local community, and this is something that caught the eye of healthy fast food restaurant Nourish, whose passion for helping people and good food is genuine, as they intend to prove that fast food can be healthy, and that not all fast food companies are driven by money.

With this in mind, AFC Unity – now supported by Nourish as official club sponsors – have also partnered with the Sheffield Food Collective for a “Football for Food” initiative that raises awareness of food poverty in Sheffield, and uses women’s football to help influence positive change.

Laura Burn Acaster of Sheffield Food Collective said: ‘One in every five people in Sheffield are living in poverty. On top of that, the number of food banks has grown from just three in 2010 to a whopping seventeen, plus a number of other food share programmes and food poverty solutions which don’t classify themselves as ‘food banks.’ We are very happy to collaborate with AFC Unity to collect food donations for our partnered food banks, raise awareness of food poverty in our city and encourage others to help in any way they can. Together we can help ensure that all of us get enough to eat.’

The “Football for Food” initiative began on Sunday, September 27th, 2015 at Hillsborough College sports complex, which hosted our first home game of the 2015/16 season against New Bohemians Ladies. Players, opponents, and supporters alike were invited to bring along foods that contributed directly to food banks via Sheffield Food Collective.

Hot on the heels of the success of the women of the England national team in this summer’s World Cup, AFC Unity hope fans are now even more interested in the excitement of women’s football, and future plans involve providing people an opportunity to not just watch matches free of charge, but also eat for free, as well.

Media Coverage

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Our sports journalist, Finola Fitzpatrick, went with two of our players – Director, Charlotte Marshall and Vice-Captain Sarah Richards – to Parson Cross food bank to see how vital the work of the food banks is to the local community. You can read the report of this by Finola here.

Sheffield Live came to our game against Barnsley Ladies to find out more about the campaign, which you can read about here.

Our campaign was also covered in the Sheffield Star here and here and ITV Calendar News here.

Through our Football for Food Campaign Expansion we have received the following additional coverage: the campaign was featured in the Sheffield Star, Now Then Magazine, and South Yorkshire Sport, our Sponsored Kick-Ups event was covered by Sheffield Live, and our Manager spoke on BBC Radio Sheffield.