Sheffield United Community Foundation have been shortlisted for the prestigious Social Impact Award at this year’s Sheffield Business Awards. Alongside three other standout local charities in Age UK Sheffield, Sheffield Churches Council for Community Care and Sheffield Futures, the award highlights the best not-for-profit enterprise in the local area.
During 2020-2021, the Foundation worked with 7,468 individuals ranging from 5 years old to 96 years old. Amidst local and national lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation adapted delivery to reach as many people as possible, from working in smaller groups and in outdoor locations to running virtual sessions and delivering care packages to participants.
The Foundations social value was calculated at £342,159 in 20-21 and is evaluated against 4 key areas of improved health, improved wellbeing, increased educational attainment and reduced crime. The 7,468 individuals engaged in Foundation activities came from 93 different ward areas, including all 28 wards in Sheffield.
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is integral to the Foundation and their priority is to ensure all programmes are inclusive and accessible to all. The “Fans Fighting Cancer” programme which supports people who have been diagnosed with or affected by cancer is one such example. The pandemic presented major challenges for all healthcare systems, but the Foundation continued to support 249 of those most in need of support to improve their physical, mental and social wellbeing. Working with participants, they developed a Care Package Initiative to support those who had become isolated at home, delivering 184 in total. All sessions were moved online and supported those who were previously digitally excluded to access online activities.
Another example is the Foundation’s “Empower LGBT+” programme, which provides physical activity and sport opportunities for LGBT+ young people with the aim of improving physical and mental wellbeing, self-confidence, and creating a more inclusive community for all. Working with a local LGBT+ charity in SAYiT, participants have designed a series of activities for LGBT+ young people to take part in including swimming, table tennis and badminton with the aim to provide a safe and inclusive space, free from discrimination, for young people to be themselves and be active. The Foundation engaged with 331 young people across the year and recently took 14 LGBT+ people to their first ever live football match at Bramall Lane as part of the Foundation’s ambition to make Sheffield United an inclusive football club. One participant said, “This is the first football game I’ve ever been to, and I feel like it’s given me more confidence to be able to come on my own in the future.”
A third example is the Premier League Kicks programme which aims to inspire young people to achieve their potential, improve their wellbeing and work together to build stronger, safer and more inclusive communities. The project has focused on encouraging sports participation, enhancing the physical and mental wellbeing of participants, and since lockdowns have ceased the Foundation’s priority has been to provide face-to-face activities due to the barriers participants have faced to engaging online.
The Foundation also delivered sessions at peak times in high-need areas to help reduce crime and anti-social behaviour and have supported young people with holiday activities and food during the school holidays.
The Sheffield Business Awards take place on Thursday 9th December and are presented by the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and UnLTD.