Millwall Football Club, Millwall Community Trust and Lions winger Jed Wallace are pleased to reveal plans to provide 200 children each day with a hot, healthy meal as part of free sports and education camps over the summer.
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Throughout the 29 days of the school holidays, Millwall's chefs will prepare meals at the stadium and deliver them to all those children taking part in the Trust’s summer sports programmes in the club’s catchment area.
The COVID-19 crisis has increased the number of children and young people in London at risk of ‘food insecurity’ – the inability to guarantee sufficient quality or quantity of food. In 2019, the Greater London Authority estimated that 400,000 children aged 16 or under were in food insecurity and, of these, only 196,000 will qualify for the new Government food voucher scheme. That means at least 200,000 may go hungry – a figure which could be higher because of rising unemployment and loss of income due to the ongoing pandemic.
The scheme is Jed's idea, and he has worked closely with club and Trust staff to get the programme off the ground. It is hoped that its implementation will go some way to helping to reduce those figures above.
To enable this initiative to be funded, Millwall have teamed up with FantasticFanatics.com – an online and retail platform which provides the opportunity for football fans to raise money for their club and respective Community Trust through everyday shopping.
The innovative and secure platform will deliver a new revenue stream to the club and the Trust, which will be put towards key community projects – starting with the healthy hot meals scheme detailed above.
The club and the Trust will receive funds when supporters shop, eat out and book hotels, and it couldn’t be easier – you just simply sign-up with FantasticFanatics.com, select Millwall as your chosen beneficiary, then register your everyday credit or debit card - log-in to your Fantastic Fanatics account, select the retailer you wish to shop with and you'll be directed to their site. Any purchase you make will raise money for the club and Trust.
Retailers taking part include: Boots, B&Q, Currys PC World, JD Sports, John Lewis, Clarks, and Sky. In the near future, in-store purchases will also be supported, further increasing the flexibility of contributing to the development of the club and the work the Trust does in the community.
Lions winger Wallace said: "I found it really startling to hear just how many local children were going without the necessary quantity or quality of food and that those figures have worsened due to COVID-19.
"I wanted to do something to help as many youngsters as was possible, and I’m grateful to the club and Trust staff for helping to get the idea off the ground. Now it’s about raising as much money as possible for the programme, and I’ve no doubt that Millwall fans will respond in their typically generous fashion."
Millwall’s Commercial Director, Stuart Lock, added: "We are delighted to partner with Fantastic Fanatics. We have a large, passionate and motivated support base here at Millwall and this partnership could raise significant funds for the club and help deliver income for the Trust’s various community projects, such as this hugely important one aimed at delivering hot, healthy meals to children who desperately need that support.
"We appreciate how difficult things are for football and its supporters currently with health concerns and the financial uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought. Therefore, the fact this method of generating funds for the club does not cost fans anything and will allow the Community Trust to benefit from purchases they are making anyway makes it a very appealing proposition."
Fantastic Fanatics Operations Director, Barry Munro, commented: "We are delighted to have Millwall FC on board and we are pleased to play a part in helping raise funds to support the club and the Community Trust. Hopefully Fantastic Fanatics can further support the amazing things that Millwall are doing on and off the pitch.
"The technology behind Fantastic Fanatics makes things so simple for the supporter, as they can choose the association or club they want to support, make a purchase at one of their favourite online retailers and generate a commission, all with a few clicks of the mouse. Our in-store offering means registered retailers will automatically send a percentage of the bill to the sports club – there is no extra card or app required. It’s business as usual at the point of sale for the consumer and the retailer.
"Ultimately, Fantastic Fanatics enables sports clubs and organisations to worry less about the finances and get on with what they do best – delivering the benefits of sport to their participants, fans and members."
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