As the country goes a little Football Crazy ahead of tonight’s semi-final clash against Denmark, we thought it important to think more about the stadiums and clubs that are part of our industry – and not just in the good times!
Throughout the COVID pandemic, Football Clubs and their charities have continued to support their communities, making 940,000 food deliveries to those in real need, tackling loneliness by making over 280,000 calls and doing thousands of garden gate visits around the UK.
An incredible amount of clubs have used their stadiums as vital COVID-19 vaccination centres, testing sites and training hubs, as part of footballs ongoing commitment to supporting the NHS in the fight against coronavirus.
Clubs including Plymouth Argyle, Bristol City, Oxford United, Huddersfield Town and Colchester United, have transformed their stadiums into NHS vaccination centres, and during the Grab a Jab weekend, Chelsea, Spurs, West Ham and Charlton all hosted walk-in clinics as efforts accelerate to get the jab into younger people.
Organisations like St John Ambulance are also making use of the large open-spaced facilities at stadiums, to train volunteers to assist in the vaccination programme, and since the start of the year, Stevenage FC has welcomed more than 30,000 local people to participate in the St John Ambulance training.
With many EFL Clubs situated at the heart of their community, their stadiums have already played an important role since the pandemic began in providing easy access to COVID-19 testing for those living locally, with drive-through and walk-in testing sites in place at Charlton Athletic, Burton Albion, Bristol City, Swindon Town, Blackburn Rovers, Doncaster Rovers and Preston North End to name but a few.
As event professionals, football clubs often play a part in our thinking, as many of them have great spaces for conference and events, and have well and truly shaken the reputation for soggy meat pies and cold peas, for outstanding catering as well.
And of course, don’t forget the Hilton, at St. George’s Park, with the National Football Centre’s exhibition space, a ballroom with cargo entrance, and flexible meeting rooms full of natural light.