Sunderland AFC director David Jones has swapped his Sky Sports headset for his very own hotline as he checks in with elderly supporters during lockdown.
The Sky Sports presenter has been getting in touch with participants of the Foundation of Light’s Extra Time Hub; a programme to support the elderly and vulnerable and help keep them active.
David decided to give members a call in an effort to keep their spirits up while they were self-isolating – talking all things SAFC!
With close to 50 active members in the Extra Time Hub, this kept him pretty busy!
“This was probably the last thing I expected to be doing when I joined the SAFC board, but when I reconnected with the club, I was reminded of just how vital our supporters are – they truly are our lifeblood, and we need to look after them,” David explained.
“It’s been a fascinating experience; I have introduced myself to some lovely people through the Foundation’s programme and learnt a lot about the city and the history of Sunderland AFC.
“I think one or two have been surprised to hear from me, but we all share the passion and desire to see our football club back where it belongs, and I’m looking forward to meeting many of them in person when the time is right,” he added.
Supporter John Hepple got in touch to tell us how moved he was by the gesture and how he thoroughly enjoyed his half hour catch-up: “I had 30 minutes on the phone with Dave and it will be remembered as one of the happier times during this lockdown period.
“He was great; we spent the time trying to put the footballing world to right – he even agreed to come and give a talk at a SAFC Senior Supporters’ group meeting once everything gets back to normal.”
David progressed through the phonebook to speak to scores of other members, who have been keeping in regular contact with the Foundation of Light through daily and weekly chats and special welfare WhatsApp group.
The Extra Time Hub is part of anational project from the EFL Trust and gives people who are retired the opportunity to meet like-minded people and create activities for the group which could have a benefit to their physical and mental health, throughout the lockdown period members have continued to keep in touch and are helping each other find alternative ways to stay active.
This was probably the last thing I expected to be doing when I joined the SAFC board, but when I reconnected with the club, I was reminded of just how vital our supporters are – they truly are our lifeblood, and we need to look after them.
For more information on the Extra Time Hubs or activities, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Written By Kate Smith
23 April 2020