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Watford connecting young and old during pandemic

21 Jul 2020

Hornets get young PL Kicks helpers to hold quiz to keep senior Community Trust volunteers from feeling isolated during lockdown

As well as being a Watford season-ticket holder for nearly 60 years, Barry Freedman has been volunteering with the club's Community Sports and Education Trust during his retirement.

One of his various roles includes with the Trust's Premier League Kicks programme, which uses the power of football to engage with youngsters.

"It's yet another example of how our great club has its roots in the community," he says. "Being part of that frankly makes me feel very proud to be a fan and a volunteer."

Barry’s favourite part of his role with Watford is driving groups and fans to events and matches around the country in a minibus. 

But, the COVID-19 pandemic has stopped this and the connections with fellow Watford fans that Barry enjoyed so much, as well as preventing time with loved ones.

"The biggest challenge is not being able to see our family and friends, especially our two little grandchildren," he says. "We miss that very much."

Connecting Generations

To alleviate such feelings of isolation among senior citizens, four of Watford's young Premier League Kicks volunteers gave something back to those who have helped to facilitate their activities.

As part of the club's Connecting Generations campaign and #GetInTouch initiative, the youngsters hosted a quiz for the Trust's older volunteers via Zoom.

"It was brilliant, great fun, a good way to spend an hour or two," says Barry. "Everybody got into the swing and the spirit of it. It was very enjoyable.

"The [youngsters] were great. It couldn't have been easy for them to ask questions and sit and talk to a bunch of 'oldies' like me.

"I'm sure they must have been nervous but they handled it absolutely brilliantly, so hats off to them."

Writing letters

Watford's Connecting Generations and the #GetInTouch campaigns have been helping a lot of older people in the region stuck at home during the lockdown and beyond.

Pupils at the club's partner school, Bromet Primary, wrote letters to members of the club's "Golden Memories" reminiscence programme, whose regular sessions were stopped because of the lockdown.

Watford also produced a "Golden Times" newspaper, featuring nostalgic content to keep their senior members entertained and remind them of the connection the club and Trust have with them.

The club have kept in touch over the phone with participants in their Golden Memories, Golden Times and Extra-Time programmes for senior citizens, including club legends Luther Blisset and Steve Sherwood making surprise calls. 

More lockdown stories

See: Coronavirus, clubs and community

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