Credit: Glasgow South West Foodbank via Facebook

Football supporting foodbanks

By Simon Dobey

News Reporter Simon Dobey discusses football supporters’ relationship and commitment to supporting food banks across the United Kingdom, and the lack of recognition they receive.

In July this year, Fans Supporting Foodbanks launched in Scotland. Beginning in Liverpool in October 2015 as a small operation, it has grown to supply 25% of all goods for food banks in the north of Liverpool. Foodbanks have, unfortunately, become a far more common sight in Britain in recent years, with a recent study suggesting that the social profile of those who access foodbanks has changed in recent years. Increasingly those in full-time employment and students are being forced to seek their services. A survey conducted by the National Union of Students (NUS) suggested that as much as 8% of students in Scotland were using food banks. 

Speaking at the launch rally of the “Enough Is Enough” campaign, a movement that is seeking to mobilise working people along with unions, Robert Foster of Fans Supporting Foodbanks said that the initiative was hoping to harness the power of the hundreds of thousands of working-class people, who attend football matches in Scotland. Remarkably, on the weekend of the last Old Firm game, fans from each team set aside their historic differences and collected food alongside one another. It was a reassuring display of solidarity between rivals, at a time when the cost of living is spiking and the Conservative political narrative stokes the flames of division. The rallying cry of the Fans Supporting Food Banks campaign, “poverty doesn’t wear club colours”, rang true. 

Even here on campus, football fans are displaying their own acts of charity and solidarity. Glasgow University Celtic Supporters Club (GUCSC) has outlined to The Glasgow Guardian the steps they will be taking this year to combat poverty in the Glasgow area and further afield. The club’s members decided to reach out to both local and national charities on a return trip from an away game in Dundee and were awarded the SRC’s Charitable Giving Award, as a testament to their hard work. Glasgow Celtic has a long history of charity, it was a central tenet of the ethos of the club since the days of its inception, to clothe and feed the poor of the East End. That spirit endures today over 130 years later. 

This year, GUCSC will be running a winter foodbank collection around November or December in aid of the Glasgow NW foodbank. Additionally, throughout the academic year, they will be looking to raise money for Mary’s Meals by taking part in a number of fundraising initiatives. This money will go towards sponsoring a number of kitchens in Chipata, Zambia, in conjunction with the Celtic Foundation’s “67 kitchens” campaign, which operates throughout the region.


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