#NeverMoreNeeded: Street Soccer Scotland
15 July 2020
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve supported local charities and voluntary organisations doing vital work in the community. With a series of small grants, we’ve been able to help those working in the voluntary sector as they tackle the impacts of the crisis in Leith and north Edinburgh. We want to share the stories of these organisations and the importance of these groups and charities at all times, but particularly in the current crisis.
Street Soccer Scotland
Street Soccer Scotland was one of the organisations to receive a small grant from us at the beginning of lockdown. Since 2009, the social enterprise has been using football to empower people affected by social exclusion. Their work focuses on bringing about positive change through football, helping those experiencing homelessness, mental health issues, addiction, poverty, long-term unemployment, or new to Scotland and adjusting to life here.
As the effects of the pandemic and lockdown started to be felt, Street Soccer Scotland listened to what their players were telling them about how the crisis was affecting them and their families. As a result of these conversations they changed the focus on their work and started delivering food and changing how they supported team members with their own health and wellbeing.
“Street Soccer has been a godsend to me as I am furloughed at the moment and usually by the second week of each month have no money at all, so the food parcels have been really helpful. They even bring food for my wee cat.”
Partner organisation, YMCA Edinburgh, were also changing the services they provided so it made sense to team up and co-ordinate deliveries and food parcels around Leith and north Edinburgh. This remarkable response was made possible with three chefs based at YMCA and a small delivery team who carried out daily drop-offs for over 100 days during lockdown. Part of their visits involved checking on people in isolation and taking the opportunity to identify other needs such as baby food, nappies, toys and pet food.
“I was out yesterday for the first time with my daughter for a wee drive. I kept on talking about how much Street Soccer has helped me in the last few weeks with all the deliveries. I’ve not been able to go out. My daughter said not all heroes wear capes and Street Soccer proves that.”
In true football team spirit, the group continued to support their players in Leith with phone calls and Zoom sessions over this challenging period. For some, lack of equipment and/or the costs of mobile data were a barrier to staying in touch with Street Soccer, their friends and family or other support services. Street Soccer Scotland were able to supply mobile phones and help individuals with mobile data, enabling participation in the online meetings and social contact.
The work is far from over for Street Soccer Scotland and their experience during lockdown has shown them that for Leith and north Edinburgh in particular, demand for voluntary sector services may not have reached its peak. Heather Manson, Head of Fundraising at Street Soccer Scotland explains:
“North Edinburgh and Leith have one of the highest numbers of furloughed staff and a concern is we may see a peak in demand over the coming months as businesses make decisions on whether to retain staff and what impact that may have on the community and support that will be required. We are planning and talking to other local partners on the support that can continue to be provided over the coming months.”
Usually July is one of the most exciting times of the year for Street Soccer Scotland as they’d be taking Team Scotland to the Homeless World Cup, an international tournament and celebration which brings over 500 players together from around the world. As we know, things didn’t quite go to plan in 2020, let’s wish the team luck for a successful tournament in 2021.
We are sharing Street Soccer Scotland’s story and the stories of others we have supported as part of the #NeverMoreNeeded campaign on social media. Learn more about Street Soccer Scotland’s work here.
In 2020, local charities have never been more needed for the vital support they provide to individuals and families, both regularly and with heightened demand during the crisis. The #NeverMoreNeeded campaign is a UK-wide push to remind the government, funders, donors and members for the public how we cannot afford to lose the voluntary sector organisations that we have come to depend on so much this year.
SCVO research shows that at the same time as voluntary sector organisations are seeing a rise in demand for services, they have been changing how they deliver and expecting or already experiencing a drop in income. The voluntary sector needs support more than ever to do what it does best during this crisis and beyond. We are joining in this campaign to help everyone understand the importance of a thriving voluntary sector on our own doorstep in Leith and north Edinburgh.