Food Banks and Football

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NRP’s support for those fans boycotting the Leeds game seems to have struck chords all over the net (and hopefully beyond) you may have also spotted that we’ve set up a Virgin Money Giving page and are asking those chosing not to attend the game (or anyone else for that matter) to think about giving some of their ticket money to The Brick Homeless charity, if nothing else it will make sure that all this is more than a group of football fans raging into some dying light.  

Anyway, we’ve spotted this blog from Latics fan Steven Martlew and thought we’d share it with you to get the mental juices flowing about why you might want to make a donation to The Brick this Christmas…

I’m not a religious person. In fact I struggle to believe in God or any supreme being. So I read the Archbishop of Canterbury’s recent article of food banks with interest (I hasten to add I read it on the BBC website and not in the Mail on Sunday!!!)

Sadly food banks are now an accepted part of our society, even here in Wigan, when 5 years ago they were unheard of. The people that access them aren’t your stereotypical soup kitchen diners either. There are a lot of working people who simply don’t have enough money to buy food once they’ve paid for rent, mortgages, fuel (gas, electricity, water and petrol). The story in the article highlighted the family that had to access the food bank because they needed 2 new tyres for the car so they could continue to get to work. This struck a particular chord with me.

I shelled out £130 on Tuesday for 2 new tyres for my car, 2 weeks before Christmas when your kids want the latest gadgets, clothes etc isn’t a great time for that to happen. I’m lucky though that I’m not alternating food with Jen just to feed the kids. Don’t get me wrong the kids wont be getting Xbox Ones each as neatly requested on their Christmas lists, but they’ll do well and they’re very lucky. Luckier than they’ll ever appreciate.

This week my colleagues and I are trying to break the Guinness World Record for the biggest food hamper in the world. We are having Christmas jumper day and, in exchange for wearing your Christmas jumper to work, you need to bring in some food for the food hamper. The hamper will then be divided between the food banks in Leigh and Wigan in preparation for the busy time of Christmas.

The Wigan food bank is run by local charity The Brick As well as provide support to Rough Sleepers they have a fantastic resource centre where the folk they are supporting get the opportunities to get some work experience and learn some key skills as part of their wider rehabilitation. The Resource Centre refurbishes furniture, bikes, computers and much more, and then sells them at discounted rates. The funds are then recycled into the project allowing growth.

Many rough sleepers are not there by choice. Many have made some poor life choices or had some bad luck and its the fabulous work of charities like The Brick that provide hope to some of societies most disengaged people.

I was delighted to see that the Latics fans considering boycotting the Boxing Day fixture at Elland Road due to ticket prices are encouraging fellow boycotees to donate their ticket money to The Brick I was equally appalled that Leeds Utd were even asking £41 for an adult ticket, at Christmas, or any other time of year for that matter. To ask that sort of money for a second tier English football fixture between 2 sides realistically looking at avoiding relegation and achieving mid-table mediocrity is nothing short of disgraceful. Particularly given what I have discussed earlier in this piece.

Latics have had some bad press recently and Latics fans are often much maligned. However the lads I know are really decent and this shows that they care and understand where football fits in to wider society and, unlike some of their bigger neighbours, it isn’t the be all and end all. The people that will be supported as a result of their kind donations might well have been Latics fans had their journeys not headed off down different paths.

Lets hope Christmas 2014 is the turning point for everyone. Lets hope the Brick goes from strength to strength in their support and rehabilitation of rough sleepers in Wigan. Lets hope our food banks go out of business because they are not needed any longer. Lets hope Latics smash 5 past Leeds and go on a run that sees them make the play offs and win promotion via another trip to Wembley.

Most of all I hope you have a very happy holiday.

Much love xx

Thanks to Steve for the use of his words.  You can read more of his thoughts on the world over at his blog – Touchlines, squares, wards and welfare reforms and can donate via the Virgin Money Giving page we’ve set up.


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