Walking in a winter wonderland-Collection for Warrington Foodbank.
The final weekend before the Christmas 2020 proved to be one of the busiest we have ever had.
Following on from the great work done by #OneGameAtaTime on the Friday night (see separate blog) we had a great time with our Football Superstars 3-5-year olds on the Saturday and then a rather special day on the Sunday.
Enjoy Football CIC host several Walking Football sessions in and around Warrington and Newton le Willows and we have the pleasure of enjoying the company of players of all abilities. We have been lucky this year to have added 2 sessions which in normal times without COVID-19, we would then have 5 sessions on per week.
Unfortunately, many of our regular players have not been able to play due to the venues being shut and being unable to get to the new sessions that are still running (I keep saying this word but honestly, I can’t think of a substitute).
So piggy backing on the creative thinking behind the #OneGameAtaTime Elephant Cup, a cunning plan was hatched to get as many of the walking footballers back together for a one-off Winter special from our Sankey, Birchwood, Wargrave, Penketh and Women’s only sessions.
Over the years we have learned from our sessions that the social side of football is probably just as if not more important than playing the game as it brings many people who are maybe struggling and lonely, together to make new friendships. Also, our players are probably the most generous, helpful and amiable bunch of people you could come across.
So, when the call went out to see who wanted to be involved in a get together, the result was a resounding yes please.
Having already organised a mini competition for the Friday night, it seemed fitting that another mini tournament along the same lines would be appropriate for Sunday 20th just to finish the year off. The venue was the same and we gathered 30 of our players form across the sessions. Each session was represented which was fantastic.
As a slight twist to the proceedings, we allocated each player with a number and drew numbers randomly to form the teams. It was a bit of a Secret Santa approach as the players did not know in advance who their teammates were to be for the day. It’s an idea that worked really well as although some of the players knew each other, it was an opportunity for others to meet and extend the friendships in the Enjoy Football Family.
Although we were there to have some fun, there was a more serious note to the day. Our aim was to donate as much food as we could to the Warrington Foodbank and with a little help from the wider Warrington Footballing community, our goal was to fill the van.
Well, we weren’t disappointed on all counts. Firstly, the players so eager to be involved started to attend well in advance of our start time with bags full of food and this continued right up to and beyond us starting the games. Introductions were made throughout and it was great to see the smiles of faces that we hadn’t seen in over 9 months and we went straight back into that footie banter.
Then the next stage, the teams. The concept of the Secret Santa went well and again it gave the opportunity for each player to talk and get to know their teammates.
I can only describe the next 2 hours as going really quickly and it was a joy to be involved with a great spirit across the board. Eventually I even got to play and scored which sort of got me off the hook having made several errors in the short 5 minutes I had been playing.
At the end of the day, to coin a football cliché, there were no outright winners of this mini competition, well the team winning most games will tell you they won but in reality, everyone was a winner.
What we are immensely proud of is that after we had started the games, the Foodbank van continued to receive donations from the Warrington Football community and eventually left as it was full. Back of the net!
We have since been informed by the Warrington Foodbank that the donations for the day weighed in at 687kg which had a retail value of approximately £1202.25. This is a fantastic effort from all involved and more than we anticipated so massive thanks to everyone on the day who donated.
We must thank the following for without them, the Enjoy Football Winter Special would simply not have been as great as it was.
Bank Quay Sports for allowing us to use the venue free of charge.
All the players from all the sessions for attending and showing us your support throughout a really horrible year.
Every person who couldn’t play but came and donated, Every person in the Warrington footballing community that donated and special thanks to my own Club Whittle Hall JFC who made a mammoth effort in donating.
Well we’ve set the benchmark high now so same time next year but bigger and better