April 9, 2020 @ 9:46 by Richard Dawson
Les Ferdinand and Steve Harmison have joined forces to back a new campaign aimed at benefitting local communities during the coronavirus crisis.
The ex-England internationals are among a host of sporting heroes and big businesses getting behind grassroots sport service GiveToLocal in its bid to assist local clubs and small businesses.
And today’s (April 9) #InspiredToGive launch is underpinned by a commitment to help community sport organisations achieve an additional £10 million in funding every year.
“I loved my time in grassroots and non-league football,” said former Newcastle United forward Les Ferdinand.
“It brings together so many people from different backgrounds and they’re working towards a common goal.
“The sense of community underpins everything that’s so positive about grassroots sport and this campaign is a fantastic example of that.”
GiveToLocal, based in North Tyneside, has been working alongside grassroots football clubs and regional FAs for several months, connecting sport with local business.
And 32,000 registered teams across the UK already benefit from the organisation’s unique approach to funding support.
Now the GiveToLocal team has brought forward plans to extend its groundbreaking service to eight more sports.
And there is a fresh focus on supporting local businesses affected by the coronavirus crisis.
“What we do isn’t just about supporting our sports clubs,” explained GiveToLocal chief executive, Neil Gardiner.
“It is about supporting our local communities by bringing clubs, local people and local businesses together.
“That’s at the heart of the #InspiredToGive campaign.
“As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak we have invested in our incentivised giving platform and made it even more inclusive.
“It is now possible for supporters of the clubs we work with to invite businesses to join the GiveToLocal community.
“Those businesses can use the platform to sell vouchers for future products and services and secure valuable cash during a period of enforced closure.”
From today cricket, basketball, volleyball, hockey, swimming, netball and both codes of rugby – in addition to local businesses – can benefit from the #InspiredToGive initiative.
“If there is one positive to come out of the coronavirus crisis it is seeing communities come together to support each other,” said GiveToLocal supporter and former Durham and England bowler Harmison.
“I grew up playing grassroots sport in Ashington – a town where local clubs and businesses are at the heart of the community.
“Now is the time to support sport, business and the people who make a difference to our everyday lives.”
GiveToLocal has secured the support of payment and banking partners, including GoCardless, to ensure community clubs receive vital funds quickly and efficiently.
And the organisation has partnered with sport retailer Kitlocker to offer clubs and teams the chance to tap into exclusive offers and competitions by taking part in a substantial campaign aimed at raising awareness and galvanising communities.
“When we are talking about perfect partnerships – from a commercial and business perspective – it always made sense to partner with GiveToLocal,” said Pat Phelan, chief customer officer at GoCardless.
“There’s no one in our organisation who hasn’t looked at what we’re trying to achieve with GiveToLocal and who hasn’t been really inspired by it.
“I am incredibly proud to be in a situation where we can support people involved in grassroots sport and in the local business community.”
Clubs and businesses are encouraged to register their interest in GiveToLocal by filling out a simple online form at www.givetolocal.com
Staff are standing by to contact clubs and businesses and begin the process of embedding them into the ever-growing GiveToLocal community.