Saturday 2 May

We hope that this weekly update finds you and your family well as another week and another month have come and gone in these strange times.

We are marking today with publication of a special end-of-season edition of The Red and White.  It is an e-version and is free to all supporters so look out for this on-line now.  It contains lots of the regular features, a review of the decade and a special review of the season that we hope you will enjoy.  Perhaps your highlights match those of our review but if not then let us know and we can tweet out your suggestions.

Continuing on the football front, this week has seen further developments and still more speculation and debate around how the National League season will end.  Clubs voted to support the board’s recommendation to end the season and were asked to respond in confidence by Friday 1 May with a view on whether play-offs should still go ahead or not at some unspecified point in the coming months.  If the decision were to be to seek to proceed with play-offs, a further round of decisions would be instigated to decide how the play-off places would be settled.

As a club that aims to be at the heart of our community, Covid 19 has come into our lives and had a dramatic impact.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to those battling the virus as well as all the key workers keeping our country running. We all salute you.

During these times the Saints Community Project has had to re-adjust to support our most vulnerable and isolated members in our Brackley community.  Kim Grantham runs the Project and does a truly fantastic job.  From everybody at the club to Kim – thank you.

We asked Kim to outline what has happened since lock-down:

“At the beginning of March with the realisation that this health emergency might possibly affect our daily lives, we were able to create support networks so that members of the Project could continue to receive support even if the Project itself was shut due to the lockdown.  Phone numbers were exchanged and members were asked to stay in regular contact with each other.  All members were given my contact details to ensure they had a primary contact point if they faced any difficulties or had any concerns or simply needed a chat.”

“When the over-70’s were asked to stay in our own homes from 16th March, this affected all of our members as well as most of our team of volunteers.  So we immediately re-grouped and organising remotely were able to distribute a large supply of books, magazines, cards, jigsaws and games to many of our regular attendees.  For those who are tech savvy and have the internet we have created a Facebook on-line support group and chat-room, where we check-in each morning and chat throughout the day and often late into the night.  The general idea is to offer support, ideas, general chit-chat and simply to have a giggle.  We have regular FaceTime group chats too to lift our spirits, as well as our weekly on-line quiz. Hopefully after technical challenges and the distribution of tickets, we will be holding our first of many of Brian’s On-line Bongo Bingo sessions!”

“A few of our members are living on their own and have no family or no family locally. These are the people we have been able to offer extra support to and a helping hand to say you are not alone. We care. We have asked local children to draw them rainbows and colouring to pop in their windows, as well as writing letters to them.”

“We have also taken them the odd home-cooked meal to help keep their spirits up and to ensure they are having some good nutrition.  We have rallied other members to ensure they are all well supported.  They have as always risen to the challenge and even been knitting gifts for others. We have arranged extra support for them through the local council in terms of food parcels, prescription collections and phone calls.”

“In addition to this, we have continued working with our community partners Waitrose and FareShare who have been able to provide some essentials in terms of bread and fresh vegetables and fruit which have been regularly distributed amongst our members and especially those who live alone.  This Wednesday should have been our Easter Bonnet Parade and Easter event day, something that’s a highlight of our calendar. So as a special Easter treat we cooked 35 of our members a special Easter Roast with pudding and left on their doorsteps.”  

Kim says, “The last few weeks have been a challenge for us all and our members.  It has been emotionally and mentally draining. The unprecedented disruption to their daily lives and routines, concerns over loved ones having Covid 19, the complete isolation and loneliness of being on your own for a prolonged and undefined amount of time.  Bundled up with the anxiety and fear of catching the virus.  But together we are getting through this rollercoaster and we will continue to do so just like one huge dysfunctional family - supporting one another, adjusting what we do as time progresses and focusing on the time when we will be able to meet up again.”  

“Some of our first team players have reached out to some of the disabled and mentally ill members of the project by making telephone calls and just chatting. This has been very well received.”

The amount of activity going on through Kim and our team of volunteers in the Saints Community Project is astonishing.  Amazing!  Thank you to everyone involved.

In next week’s update we hope to bring more news about the clubhouse.

Until next Saturday - stay safe, stay well.

BTFC Board