Derby County Football Club and Community Trust have been shortlisted at the upcoming Football Business Awards, for their community response to the COVID-19 pandemic through the ‘Stay Safe. Stay Fit. Stay Connected.’ campaign.

The aim of the project was to meet as many needs across the city as possible, from opening a food donation hub to providing office space for the NHS, along with maintaining a high level of support for all participants and supporters.

Support included access to a weekly virtual timetable comprising of physical and mental health sessions, regular care package deliveries for those shielding, an IT loan scheme and player updates and interviews.

The campaign also created a fund to support the city’s food banks and has supplemented them with key items along with collecting donations on behalf of the Derby Food 4 Thought Alliance over the past year.

There have been some standout moments of the project, such as supplying, producing and delivering almost 1,000 meals across the week before Christmas to those in isolation and supporting efforts to collect 15,000 Easter eggs so that every child in receipt of free school meals was able to receive one.

The work of the Community Trust has also adapted to the consequences of the pandemic, with more employability support, free meals distributed at holiday clubs and more equipment provided to schools in areas of deprivation.

The project was also successful in gaining further funding from the National Lottery Community Fund and saw Secretary of State for the Department of Digital, Media, Culture and Sport, Oliver Dowden, virtually visit the project back in November 2020.

Simon Carnall, Head of Community at Derby County Community Trust, said: “Seeing ‘Stay Safe. Stay Fit. Stay Connected’ shortlisted at this year’s Football Business Awards pays testament to the huge amount of time invested into the project from all areas of the football club.

“From players keeping in touch with fans, to Academy staff delivering food parcels, Community Trust staff adapting delivery to keep in touch with over 7,000 participants online, the last 12 months have shown how much is possible when we work together.

“Partnership work with Derby City Council, the Royal Derby Hospital, the Derby Food 4 Thought Alliance and schools across the city has been absolutely integral, as we have been able to determine the priorities in the city and have shaped the project to respond.”

The project continues to support local food banks, schools and participants as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be felt.

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