Following the first annual Fans Supporting Foodbanks conference arranged by the Football Supporters Federation in Newcastle last year, it was the turn of Merseyside based Supporter Foodbanks, a combination of Everton’s Blue Union and Liverpool’s Spirit of Shankly, to host this year’s conference in the grand setting of St George’s Hall, Liverpool. Given our involvement in NUFC Fans Foodbanks NUST representative Colin Whittle attended the event with Bill Corcoran.
Hosted by Ian Byrne from Spirit of Shankly and Dave Kelly from Blue Union the day began with a passionate introduction from Liverpool Councillor Jane Corbett who we knew from her visit to last year’s conference in Newcastle. She was followed by a number of speakers talking about local initiatives being supported by fans and the background behind those initiatives. It was clear from the many passionate speeches made that there has been a ‘major buy in’ from the local community –supporters working together for the benefit of their communities.
Liverpool Chief Executive Peter Moore and former player Jamie Carragher both spoke well-it was pleasing to see a high profile ex player have a part to play- as did Red Neighbours representative Forbes Duff and Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson and Chester MP Chris Matheson. Donna Scully from Solicitors Carpenters also spoke about her own firm’s involvement.
The afternoon session involved fan representatives speaking about fan initiatives at their own clubs. Contributions from Celtic, Huddersfield, Merseyside, Sunderland and our own Bill Corcoran, speaking with his usual passion about NUFC Fans Foodbank, were just some of the contributions to the afternoon session.
A well organised conference-our hosts continue to be a source of inspiration no doubt about that, and a lot to learn about other fan group’s initiatives, it’s just a shame that Foodbanks are necessary in this day and age.
What the conference demonstrated more than anything was the power of football fans working together and the overall power for good we can bring to our local communities. An undoubted positive force after years of unjust criticism in certain quarters.
To finish the day off and as a gesture of thanks NUFC Fans Foodbank contributed to our hosts a framed Fans Foodbank poster signed by Rafa.
There was plenty of time to reflect on what had been a thoughtful and inspirational day during the train journey back home, but speaking from the NUST perspective we’d like to thank every single person who has contributed in any way to our own NUFC Fans Foodbank……magnificent support for those in need within our own community.