EVERYONE at the Rangers Charity Foundation is hoping that our supporters, charity partners and all the children and adults we work with across the community are staying safe and coping with all the changes to daily life at the moment. It’s a very challenging time for the country and our thoughts are particularly with those who have lost loved ones as a result of the virus or indeed for any reason.
Like many charities, the Rangers Charity Foundation has been significantly impacted by COVID-19, and I wanted to take this opportunity to share information about how our day-to-day operations have been affected, how we have been responding over recent weeks and how we hope to have the continued support of the Rangers Family to help keep us strong and resilient for the future.
How have we been responding to the COVID-19 pandemic?
During the early weeks of the pandemic, we identified safe opportunities for members of the Foundation team to assist our communities, and we will be continuing this support over the coming period.
Our activity has included:
- Contacting a number of Rangers Charity Dream Fund nominees to check up on their wellbeing and to pass on our warm wishes. Our nominees can face many challenges through illness, bereavement or disability and we have made sure that they know that we are thinking about them and look forward to offering more Dream Fund experiences as soon as we are able to.
- Beginning outdoor face to face sporting activities at two local hub primary schools where the children of key workers are still attending school.
- Responding to all enquiries, including where possible requests for prizes for future planned fundraising events.
- Developing a weekly training schedule along with supporting training video recorded by our community coaches and Foundation staff which has been shared with participants on our Football Fans in Training programme.
- Sending out a weekly challenge to our Autism Friendly Football and Visually Impaired Football participants.
- Facilitating a £5,000 donation from The Steven Gerrard Foundation to the local Govan Youth Information Project which will provide funding for three weeks to help extend their daily food service for young people and their families in the Govan area who need this.
- Sharing information as part of a network of local organisations about vital local services and useful contact numbers for local people in the community who are in need of support or assistance from different services.
- Helping to ensure that some of the most vulnerable pupils and their families, or those who need additional support at Govan High School are receiving weekly telephone calls from our Govan High Hub Officer Scott Smith.
- Using the reach of our social media channels to share information about wider services available, including the importance of looking after our mental health.
- Making sure that the hard-working pupils taking part in our SQA accredited activities will still have their qualifications certificated, ready to help them progress when opportunities are once again available.
- Developing fun and educational resources for children by creating a weekly series of worksheets and activities. As well as being able to access these new resources online, we are sending the worksheets to a range of 36 partner primary schools across Glasgow and to CEMVO Scotland and via the Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society.
- Arranging special individual video messages from Rangers first team players and the Manager for a number of Dream Fund nominees who are need of a boost.
- Supporting our International Partner Unicef’s global appeal to help health care workers around the world at this time via our £15,000 donation earlier this season. This donation could provide 15,000 health care professionals with respiratory masks to help keep them safe at work.
- Donating bars of chocolate, sweets, crisps, bottles of juice, packets of biscuits and puzzle books for a free Tuck Shop service for patients who are unable to receive visits from loved ones at Glasgow Royal Infirmary and the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.
- We were delighted this week to hear that will be receiving a ‘Scottish Government Wellbeing Fund’ grant award to support a range of new activities, which we have developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic across various communities.
How has the Foundation staff team been affected?
I would also like to update you on the Foundation’s approach to accessing the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Initially, a limited number of our staff were placed on furlough from 1 April, and a further group of staff went on furlough later in the month. All Foundation staff will continue to receive 100% of their normal salaries and the decision to furlough is fundamentally based upon the fact that much of our community programme delivery and event fundraising activity has either had to be suspended or has been severely curtailed.
We, along with many other charities, want to safeguard jobs and to protect our limited charitable funds in order to do our best to ensure that the Rangers Charity Foundation can emerge from this crisis safely, protecting staff jobs and be ready to renew our wonderful charitable activities to the widest degree possible. Without knowing exactly when current restrictions will be lifted, it is very difficult to say just how long these furlough arrangements will remain in place, but the Foundation’s trustees will keep this under constant review.
We are also focused on the welfare of our staff and are keeping in regular contact with everyone in the team in order to maintain the camaraderie and sense of mutual support which we have always cherished.
And speaking of things that we cherish, our superb relationship and engagement with our supporters is something that has always been special to us! The fundraising activities and events we hold throughout the year always provide lots of highlights and vital funds to sustain our work, so that we can be a force for good on behalf of the Rangers Family.
What are our plans going forward?
Over recent weeks, we have been putting in place new ways of working and engaging with our supporters, so that we can continue to inspire you to do whatever you can to help us continue to make a difference to others.
A ‘Blue All Over Fun Run From Home’ is the first event which we will be taking forward, before launching a digital fundraising campaign later in the year, which we hope will spark the imagination of the whole Rangers Family and beyond! This new project is likely to become vital for us, as we endeavour to fill the void left by cancelled 2020 events. This may, unfortunately, include our much loved annual Charity Ball, which can raise up to £90,000 for the Foundation, thanks to our incredible supporters.
It’s often at this time of year that I would be taking on my own personal challenge for the Foundation, but current restrictions have obviously curtailed any plans. However, as soon as circumstances allow, I plan to get training and come up with a new fundraising challenge adventure, once again in support of our Armed Forces Fund charity partners. Hopefully many of you will also feel inspired to take on one of our fundraising challenges or even invent one of your own!
Not surprisingly, the necessary suspension of so many of our fundraising events has severely impacted the level of unrestricted funds we have available to develop our activities and to be able to safely meet our funding aspirations in relation to key charity partners. This means that we are likely to maintain our relationships with many of these charity partners into next season, ensuring that we can support each charity, when we are able, with our previously planned donation.
As government restrictions are gradually eased, we’re determined to play our part in helping those who have been severely affected by this unprecedented crisis. There will be young people and adults who need our trusted support more than ever before:
- We will be helping people to find a job again.
- We will work with young and often vulnerable young people gain qualifications and confidence on their pathway to employment.
- We will launch a new programme to offer assistance in coping with mental health challenges.
- We will be raising funds in support of our key charity partner projects.
- We will offer young people and their families the chance to once again take part in our Autism Friendly and Visually Impaired Football programmes.
- We will be launching two new Hub in the Community initiatives in Drumchapel High School and Knightswood Secondary School, significantly boosting our support for hundreds of young people following the success of our existing initiative at Govan High School.
We couldn’t be the Rangers Charity Foundation without you!
The Rangers Charity Foundation is unique, and the incredible backing we have received from our supporters, the Club, sponsors and funders has enabled us to transform thousands of lives for the better, in Glasgow, across Scotland and throughout the world. The generosity and loyalty of the Rangers Family to our special Foundation is second to none and I hope that everyone will be alongside us in spirit over the weeks and months ahead and do whatever they can to engage with and support us as we face the challenges ahead.
Please do get in touch at any time if you would like to find out more about our current activities and plans and you can also keep up to date with our news via the Foundation website, monthly newsletter and our social media channels.
Thank you for your support!
With best wishes on behalf of everyone at the Rangers Charity Foundation,