The COVID-19 crisis may have brought the 2019/20 season to a temporary halt but work has continued behind-the-scenes at Millwall – most notably with the Community Trust.
The outbreak of the virus and the country’s subsequent lockdown has presented all of society and the economy with unprecedented challenges and it has been particularly damaging to the charity sector.
Community Trust staff have had to adapt accordingly and moved quickly to switch as much of their regular offering online as possible, which included their Alternative Provision Academy and BTEC programme for Post-16 Football Academy students. That change allows participants to continue to engage with the Trust and maintain their learning pathway regardless of the lockdown. Individuals can also sign up to different e-courses with a donation made to the NHS for each one completed.
But the focus and work of staff in the Lions Centre has not been limited to their usual attendees. Instead, Community Trust personnel have gone above and beyond to assist those most in need in the local boroughs during this crisis, with many volunteering at Southwark Foodbank and others providing a delivery service of food and medical supplies for over 60s and vulnerable residents.
Call centres have also been set-up for their walking sports participants and those on their DS Active and Disability programmes, while the Trust has also coordinated Lewisham Council’s befriending helplines. They have also offered the Lions Centre to any homeless charity needing to house individuals away from the streets, have worked with local police on a support call service for young people and have hosted weekly blood donation sessions.
As well, they were able to deliver Easter Sports Camps at Conisborough College for the children of key workers and have put together informative podcasts, released physical activity sessions online, shared cookery recipes and hosted FIFA tournaments – amongst other unique schemes and initiatives.
The Den has also hosted a wide range of PPE for its local NHS Trust.
“It has undoubtedly been a very testing time,” Sean Daly, Trust chief executive, said.
“But while there has been enforced changes to how we work and increased financial issues, the crisis has also presented the Trust with opportunities to further its experiences and those of staff and volunteers.
“I cannot praise staff enough for the way in which they have embraced the challenges COVID-19 has presented society and I’m so proud of those who have volunteered to help local residents most in need. I really hope that work has been a source of some comfort at a very difficult time for so many.
“We don’t know how long this will all go on for but we will continue to do absolutely everything we can, not just for our programme participants but also for the entire community.”
You can help Millwall Community Trust do exactly that by donating to the charity on their JustGiving page. Click here to get involved!