The NUFC Fans Foodbank held its final collection of the season before the Chelsea home game, but aware that hunger doesn’t stop at the end of the football season, those behind the initiative, including NUST, decided to consider collecting at events during the close season.
Led by stalwart Bill Corcoran, the team of volunteers earmarked the Magic Weekend Rugby tournament at St James Park on 19th May for their first collection. Although they were not able to set up on their normal spot-and collected further along Strawberry Place- which had been turned into a fan zone –it was a very lively area with fans of all of the clubs mixing in what was a friendly atmosphere! NUST Board member Colin Whittle turned up for volunteering duties on what was a very warm afternoon and reported that it was strange collecting outside Nine Bar ,but without knowing anybody milling around the ground. The team put in a canny session from around mid-day until around 4pm and raised over £140. Highlight of the afternoon was when a band appeared ,trumpets etc. ,playing La Bamba ,to be met by a hearty chorus from the volunteers of ‘Rafa Benitez’ much to the amusement of the rugby fans.
The next event on the calendar was a gig down at the 02 by The Farm on 2nd June. Frontman Peter Hooton is very much involved in the Liverpool fan scene and after various conversations from local Mags and a few strings pulled, the band and venue allowed NUFC Fans Foodbank volunteers Bill Corcoran, Steve Hastie and Colin Whittle to set up in the warmth of the venue itself .It was a great night with contributions from gig goers and the Band themselves. Because quite a bit of publicity had been generated many of those attending also arrived with food donations to add to the money collected. After collecting the trio were able to watch the gig-All Together Now!
Next up? The Three Ed Sheeran concerts at St James Park on 8th, 9th and 10th June .Plenty of publicity about the Foodbank collections resulted in those attending the concerts having plenty of awareness of the initiative. Setting up at 5pm each evening –again further along Strawberry Place –volunteers collected until around 8.15pm each evening. Once again NUST turned up for volunteering duties each night and reported that there was an electric atmosphere around the whole event with volunteers acting as ‘ambassadors’ for the City, directing those attending the concerts to the appropriate stand as well as answering a host of other questions…the highlight being ‘can you tell me where the Alan Shearer statue is please?’ Together with the proceeds of a raffle at Nine Bar preceding the concerts a total of £1910.00 was raised over the course of the weekend.
It’s important to remember that the need to feed the hungry of our Region continues all year round and it’s great to see NUFC Fans Foodbank helping out at events in the close season. Particular praise to all those volunteers who give up their own time to help out….and of course to everyone who has contributed in any way.
The NUFC Fans Foodbank continues to be open in the Grainger Market each, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10am until 4pm, to accept donations. If you are in Newcastle please call in, all donations are gratefully accepted.