How Sport Is Making Community Impact Globally Amidst Covid-19

November 13, 2020

In this week’s community piece, iSPORTCONNECT’s Taruka Srivastav looks at how the sporting world supported communities globally.

Since March, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed particular challenges for all, especially for small-businesses and communities. Understanding their own unique access to resources and ability to collaborate with local communities, sports organisations globally have stepped in to offer their support.

The Arsenal Foundation donated £100,000 to local charities and organisations that are supporting those most in need during this COVID-19 crisis. 

Arsenal in a statement said : “We are in constant dialogue with Islington Council and our partners in the NHS to ensure this response is aligned with their priorities and supports those most vulnerable.  A further £50,000 already donated to local community initiatives by The Arsenal Foundation, in partnership with Islington Giving, will also be re-directed to Islington Giving’s Crisis Fund as part of this COVID-19 community response.”

Arsenal further made all “Arsenal in the Community” cars available to transport frontline NHS mental health workers.

Manchester United was recently awarded the North West Football Award in the category of Community Initiative of the Season for their response to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. 

During the pandemic, the Foundation committed over £1m to communities in Greater Manchester and across the world. The funds were largely generated through last year’s hugely successful Treble Reunion match, which ironically wouldn’t have taken place if it was arranged for 2020. The main focus of the response has been to ensure we remain a constant in the lives of those who rely on our services on a daily basis.

Meanwhile, with the ongoing Lockdown 2 in the UK, EFL Clubs and their respective Club Community Organisations (CCOs) once again have resorted to Zoom, Teams and other digital platforms to keep people in their communities engaged, educated and, most importantly, connected.

At Luton Football Club, delivering books has been a major part of a key initiative to tackle loneliness in EFL communities.

In the US, NBA too announced its no-cost community COVID-19 Testing Program in Orlando and has expanded it to other Team Markets. The program, which is part of the league’s NBA Together program aims to “support, engage, educate and inspire youth, families and fans in response to the coronavirus pandemic.” The NBA is collaborating with UnidosUS and the National Urban League as well as a number of other private laboratories to identify areas most in-need of access to no-cost testing.

Teams like Warriors joined all Bay Area sports teams, NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports California, and Timbuk2 to launch the Bay Area Unite Shirt Donations for Masks initiative, converting 10,000 t-shirts into 50,000 masks for healthcare workers in Northern California.

The NFL, its teams, and players have also came together to do their part in supporting the country as they try to tackle the issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Honeywell and the Panthers collaborated to create a safer stadium experience by offering individual personal protective equipment (PPE) packs for Panthers fans and staff, as well as deploying air quality monitoring solutions, via a custom Healthy Buildings dashboard, to give real-time information related to the health of the stadium.

The Bengals donated $70,000 to Activities Beyond the Classroom to fund the Academic & Athletic Accountability Pathway (AAA Pathway) program for the 2020-2021 school year. Also, the Ravens donated $250,000 to the Baltimore Health Corps, which is recruiting, training, and employing more than 300 residents who are currently jobless during the pandemic to serve as contract tracers and care coordinators for Baltimore City residents.

The biggest highlight was footballer Marcus Rashford, who amassed praised globally as his campaign to get free meals for children during the half-term holiday garnered massive community and political support  The England striker in an interview to BBC said he was “overwhelmed” by the support offered by councils and businesses. It comes after a Labour bid to extend free school meals was rejected by MPs.

Cadbury partnered with multiple Premier League clubs to help the small-businesses and community as well.

In these uncertain times, the global sporting realm has stood by its fans and communities and despite amassing losses every day with no return of play in sight for many, is constantly fulfilling their social and moral responsibility. It is the need of the hour.