CSF renew plea for help on the day rebates ’open’

The Community Sports Foundation at work Picture: NCFC

The Community Sports Foundation at work Picture: NCFC

Archant

Norwich City’s official charity, the Community Sports Foundation (CSF), is hoping for a swell of support on Monday as fans decide the fate of their rebates for the 2019-20 season.

Loving the work of the Community Sports Foundation Picture: NCFCLoving the work of the Community Sports Foundation Picture: NCFC

The rebates have been offered following the decision to play out the rest of the season behind-closed-doors because of the coronavirus pandemic.

City have said season ticket holders and members would be able to claim a pro-rata rebate or donate it to either the club’s Academy or the Community Sports Foundation.

CSF chief executive Ian Thornton quickly penned an open letter to supporters, highlighting the difficulties faced by the charity following the COVID-19 pandemic, and to ask for support from the rebate scheme where possible.

The CSF are facing a potential shortfall in income of around £500,000, which will place a huge strain on the sustainability of the Foundation’s programmes, ultimately threatening the support it provides to people in the community, including participants with disabilities and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“This opportunity, kindly presented to us by the club’s executive team and directors, is one way we may be able to make a small dent in that figure,” he wrote.

“We expect only a small minority to be in a position to help us at this time, but if you think that you are one of those fortunate enough to be in that position, please consider us for your support.”

Fans can make their decision of what happens to their refund from 9am on Monday by completing the rebate application at canaries.co.uk/rebate.

The CSF have been making a strong case: their usual work would take place on a sports field or in a classroom, and so the charity has had to adapt rapidly to ensure continued support for the community it serves.

From phone calls, online quizzes and exercise ideas for over 55s, home schooling support for parents, and online sessions for their disability dance group, the Foundation’s team have worked to maintain contact and support for those in Norfolk that need it most.

Stevie Bramble, Head of Curriculum, said: “The pandemic has amplified many of the issues that we as a Foundation tackle, and so we couldn’t just sit back and wait to deliver our programmes face-to-face again – we had to get creative.

“We’ve developed a stay-at-home app for several of our programmes, so that people can access resources such as exercise ideas or video challenges from our coaches, and we’ve held live sessions online where possible so that people can get that interaction with the familiar faces they usually would.”

Toby Nickerson, who oversees several of the Foundation’s community initiatives, gave an example of how the Foundation’s support has adapted.

“One of our groups ‘Run for Me’ is a weekly running and social session to help people boost their mental health through fitness and socialising,” he said. “The effect of postponing that group could have been devastating to the people who rely on the support, especially at a time that is causing so much isolation and anxiety, so we created a group within a running app, which gets them to stay active and encourage each other along the way.

“We even introduced a podcast for them this week for some light entertainment.”

In addition to its typical work, the Foundation has worked closely with staff from the Football Club on the Canaries COVID-19 Community Support Project, which has delivered over 2,500 care packages to the community during its response to the crisis, working with local authorities and other charities to identify and reach some of the most vulnerable people in Norfolk.

The second phase of the project has been dubbed ‘recovery’, and the Foundation intends to use existing and new programmes to tackle the secondary issues such as inactivity, poor mental health, or a decrease in learning opportunities that have been created by the necessary restrictions placed on daily life.

How to claim a rebate: All 2019-20 season ticket holders and members will be sent a letter by post which confirms the rebate amount they are entitled to and a reminder of how to claim. Supporters will also be sent an email with these details, with supporters advised to visit tickets.canaries.co.uk to ensure personal details are up to date.

Fans can then claim their refund from 9am on Monday by completing the rebate application at canaries.co.uk/rebate. Supporters will be asked to select their rebate of choice, then prompted to visit tickets.canaries.co.uk to ensure the supporter details are fully up to date.

Supporters will have until Tuesday, June 30 to complete this process and select their rebate option.

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