Loneliness Awareness Week

Watford allowing generations to come together

18 Jun 2021

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

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This Loneliness Awareness Week, we are looking at how Premier League clubs have been working in their local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep people connected and to help those at risk of social isolation.


A season-ticket holder for nearly 60 years, Barry Freedman has also been volunteering with Watford'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 last year, the COVID-19 pandemic stopped this and the connections with fellow Watford fans that Barry enjoyed so much, as well as preventing time with loved ones.

Connecting Generations

To help alleviate those 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."

Writing letters

Watford's Connecting Generations and the #GetInTouch campaigns have helped a lot of older people in the region who had to stay at home during 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.

Get involved

People can get involved with the #LetsTalkLoneliness campaign, which raises awareness of loneliness and supports those who are socially isolated at this time.

For tips on what you can do, and to find out where to get support, visit the LetsTalkLoneliness website.

Also in this series

Part 1: 'Pre-match socials have given me mental strength'
Part 2: Shaun helping others thanks to Sheff Utd support
Part 3: Southampton keeping Senior Saints connected
Part 4: How Brighton gave Joe a lifeline in lockdown
Part 5: PL Primary Stars encouraging children to get in touch
Part 7: How Wolves used music video to combat isolation

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