Bill Alves – Making a difference from home
Bill Alves is a familiar face at Tynecastle Park, usually found volunteering in the Museum on Fridays or giving a hand at Big Hearts’ charity events.
With more time on his hands this spring, Bill decided to step in and help the Club check in on older fans. He quickly became one of our most enthusiastic volunteers – completing over 60 calls in a fortnight!
“The last few months have brought a slower pace of life. My wife Sandra and I are both doing well under the circumstances, we are lucky to have a garden. Our daughter lives abroad, but we manage to keep in touch via Skype and see the grandchildren on screen. I manage to keep in touch with my pals in the Museum via video calls, but that’s about it. I am over 70 and therefore in the vulnerable group, so I don’t feel too comfortable going out and about, apart from my daily walk.
Helping with the phone calls seemed like a useful thing to do. I started with ten names and I think I have called more than sixty season ticket holders now. The good news is that they are all doing fine. They have family and friends to help them cope, but they really enjoy a chat on the phone. It’s pretty good. I enjoy being able to help out. I will be making more calls this week whilst keeping safe at home.
The main reason volunteers like me are phoning other elderly supporters is simply to check if they are ok with food or medication and not feeling too isolated. The conversations usually turn to the matters of football. I am about the same age as the fans I am phoning, we have been supporting Hearts for over 60 years! I ended up chatting with people I know, or friends of friends! I have also heard of great things about the Football and Edinburgh Memories project run by Big Hearts.
I think most people enjoy that someone is taking the time to check in on them on behalf of the Club. It reminds supporters that Hearts are still very much active in the community and here to help if needed. In difficult times like these, the Club helps spread some goodwill across the community.
Before the lockdown, I was able to raise funds at the local Marks and Spencer, who chose Big Hearts as one of their chosen charities. It was great fun and I am hoping to get back to that when we can do so. I get a lot of pleasure volunteering with Big Hearts. They are great people doing a fantastic job.”