As the country went into lockdown, the Bristol Sport group came together to support the most vulnerable in the community by providing them with essential food supplies. This collaborative effort saw each of the sporting charities work with Ashton Gate, and a dedicated team of volunteers, in an effort which has now delivered more than 50,000 meals directly to families in need.
“It has been great that Ashton Gate has been used in such a way to support the community. I can’t tell you how proud I am with everyone concerned and I would just like to thank everyone involved, it was a great effort by them all.”
Throughout the lockdown, Ashton Gate Stadium provided a temporary home for three other charities who required space for their own response work. The largest of these being FareShare South West, who deliver food to organisations across the region.
With FareShare South West’s existing warehouse full, additional space was required to enable them to reach more people in need. In just four months, food for more than one million meals was distributed from Bristol to Bodmin, directly from the Lansdown Stand concourse at Ashton Gate.
To enable FareShare South West to continue processing such large volumes as the stadium starts to emerge from lockdown, an alternative space on the stadium’s footprint has now been found, meaning FareShare South West’s large-scale operation can continue even when crowds do return.
Ashton Gate Stadium, Managing Director, Mark Kelly said: “We’re really pleased to continue supporting FareShare South West. Many of our staff have been involved packing and delivering this food, so we’ve seen their wonderful work first-hand.
“It was important to us that we did everything possible to give them continuity as the stadium reopened so we’re delighted that we’ve been able to provide an alternative space here until next year.”
FareShare South West’s Head of Development, Phoebe Ruxton, commented: “The support from Ashton Gate of our Emergency Food Response operation has enabled us to distribute food for over a million meals to frontline organisations working with vulnerable people during these exceptionally difficult times.
“The new space they’ve provided gives us certainty and allows us to plan well into next year which is essential for the scale of the operation we run. We’re very thankful to the stadium, clubs and their staff who have enabled this, it is a shining example of our community working together during the crisis.”
All the Covid-19 relief efforts conducted at the stadium have been strategically planned alongside Feeding Bristol, to ensure an efficient and effective city-wide response alongside other charities.
We would like to thank Feeding Bristol, FareShare South West, Feed the Homeless, Bristol Food Union, BS3 Community, the charitable foundations, and all the staff who volunteered.