It’s been a big year for activism in football. From teams ‘taking the knee’ to players threatening to boycott games in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community and the ENDSARS movement, these gestures against social and political issues have emerged both on and off the pitch. Perhaps most notable has been Marcus Rashford’s decision to step in where the government hadn’t, pushing for the provision of free school meals for children in need.
The effect of Rashford’s work has been tangible, with the government pressured to make not one, but two U-turns in response. It has also inspired change on a more local scale, as shown by the community work by Pontefract Football Club.
With a mantra of ‘football for all’, the West Yorkshire club created the Pontefract Food Hub in September. The eponymous organisation delivers food and essential items to people within West Yorkshire, with a focus on those affected by coronavirus and other hardships. The Hub was initially supported by funding from the National Lottery Community Fund, but has more recently received aid from Knottingly Morrisons Community and local volunteers, including club players and coaches.
Tom Wiles, the team’s Vice Chairman, said “This year has been one of the toughest yet for many people. One of our primary goals has always been to bring the local community together and to raise the standards of equality in the local area, and if the Food Hub can make people’s lives even a little bit easier, then we are determined to make it a success. The response from our community has been overwhelming and we are so incredibly grateful for all the support we’ve received so far”.
Follow the organisation here.