Associated community trusts and SPFL clubs (ATCs) across Scotland brought Christmas cheer to those who needed it most last year with a new-look initiative designed to support socially isolated older people.

Festive Friends has now completed its fifth year, but with life looking very different, the SPFL Trust teamed up with 37 associated Trusts & Clubs to launch a new ‘at home’ version of the programme in 2020.

It was a tough year for everyone due to Covid-19, but of course it was especially difficult for the elderly who are at higher risk of social isolation.

Ordinarily, our Festive Friends event would take place at McDiarmid Park stadium. Participants enjoy a tasty Christmas lunch, fun and games, a gift, as well as the means to get there and home. Across the country, almost 4,000 people have enjoyed the event in the last four years. However, physical distancing rules meant this wasn't possible in 2020, so clubs flipped the entire operation, and headed into their community to contribute towards thousands of doorstep visits happening in every corner of the country.

Through this intitiative, Saints in the Community supported people who would usually attend the Football Memories programme and we also worked with St Johnstone FC, Alzheimer's Scotland and Perth & Kinross Council to identify additional beneficiaries.

On Wednesday 23rd December, our team of volunteers made surprise visits to deliver our Christmas hampers. Each hamper included:

  • Afternoon Tea
  • Oatcakes & Cheese
  • Memory Lane football-themed activity book
  • Homemade & personalised coaster
  • Tea Bags
  • other goodies & treats...

During each of our doorstep visits we were also able to share a video message recorded by St Johnstone stirker, Stevie May!

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service assisted us with deliveries too, with fire safety advice leaflets for the elderly and vulnerable included.

Ross Cunningham, the Media & Communications Manager from St Johnstone FC, spoke with our Projects Officer, Josh Henderson, and captured some behind the scenes footage. Photos from the day can also be found on our Facebook and Instagram pages.

The SPFL Trust's Festive Friends at Home campaign report can be read HERE.