Festive Friends: Bringing Christmas Cheer!
This December, Big Hearts are bringing Christmas cheer to those that need it most this year by taking part in the biggest ever SPFL Trust Festive Friends programme!
With thanks to continued support from the SPFL Trust, our charity will welcome 80 guests to enjoy a warm and friendly afternoon at Tynecastle Park with a free Christmas dinner served in the Executive European Lounge, along with musical entertainment and presents to bring home.
Big Hearts’ Memories Lunch will see older participants and volunteers from across our Football Memories and Edinburgh Memories project come together for the first time in two years. The event will mark the end of a successful year where our free social group for over 65s at risk of social isolation welcomed an average of 100 people on a monthly basis.
The Festive Friends programme is now in its sixth year, with 41 SPFL clubs taking part. Big Hearts are delighted to join the 2021 campaign which aims to support over 3,000 people at football grounds in Scotland.
Over the holiday season, Big Hearts will also provide festive hampers and food parcels directly to older people’s homes and the funding from the SPFL Trust will enable our charity to reach out to 125 elderly who are facing acute loneliness at Christmas time.
Innes Shirreff, Big Hearts Operations Manager, said: “Big Hearts and Festive Friends have a long history of working together to support elderly groups during the festive season. We’re delighted to see the partnership grow this year, with £4,787.50 in funding which will allow us to support 125 individuals at risk of social isolation. As one of the first football grounds hosting a Festive Friends event back in 2017, it’s fantastic for us to see the initiative rolled out to 41 SPFL Clubs across the country.
The highlight of Festive Friends at Tynecastle Park will be our Memories Lunch on 14 December. Throughout Covid-19 Big Hearts’ reminiscence project has played a vital role in keeping the elderly engaged and connected during those challenging times. Being able to celebrate around a festive lunch together is something that our participants, volunteers and staff are really looking forward to.”
Nicky Reid, SPFL Trust CEO, commenting on Festive Friends: “Festive Friends is a real highlight of the year for me and my colleagues at SPFL clubs. It’s all about good old fashioned Christmas spirit – bringing club staff and volunteers together to reach elderly people who are at risk of social isolation.
Scottish football is trusted to support, and our recent research shows that almost 83% of people live within ten miles of a SPFL ground – because of this clubs and their associated community trusts are well positioned to effect this type of change in their communities.
This year 41 SPFL clubs are involved making it our biggest programme yet, supported by a record breaking fund of £100,000. We look forward to supporting more elderly people than ever before, after all kindness never mattered more.”
– December 2021