When requesting help, charities are sometimes faced with the derogatory response, ‘sorry, charity begins at home’. However, here at Leyton Orient, the ‘home’ means supporting at least 12 of our local and national charities on a home match day, agreeing to a bucket collection, helping with awareness or even visiting or inviting schools in for educational workshops.
Each season, the club is inundated with requests for help from charities whether it be for fundraising, leaflet distribution and awareness of their activities or just a raffle prize and of course, we help out as much as reasonably possible and last season, due to the demand, we introduced an application process to allow for a more even process when trying to choose who we can assist.
We now spread the fundraisers and awareness campaigns across the season and include our joint partners Haven House and St. Joseph’s Hospices, any nominated by the Football League (currently Prostate Cancer UK) plus one or two from within our local community alongside the more established and well-known organisations.
And if amongst the bucket collecting we can create an involvement and bring a smile to some faces, we will donate match day tickets to the groups who involve those with specific special needs, creating a whole day experience that may include being the pre-match flag bearers or half-time penalty takers.
We have now made great associations with the local council, Barts Hospital, the NHS and many of our local charity projects and have welcomed the following this season: Age UK; Bart’s Kids; Carefree Kids; Family Action; the White Ribbon Campaign; NHS (smoking cessation, obesity and mental health), Action For Kids; the Poppy Appeal and the Kick It Out campaign with Prostate Cancer UK; Know the Score (bowel cancer), Haven House Children’s hospice and St. Joseph’s hospice and our very own Somme appeal yet to come.
And we mustn’t forget the work that our own Leyton Orient Trust (LOT) do within the community and our relationship with Show Racism the Red Card who will be delivering a workshop to over 120 primary school pupils in February, the fourth consecutive year, whilst O’s fan and match day steward Danny O’Brien has already delivered his award winning Anti-Knife UK workshop to LOT students and in local schools in association with the club.
It would be wonderful to be able to support each and every one of our requests but it’s also obviously impossible to do so. Nevertheless, as you can see, we don’t lack effort and have already started compiling a list of applications for next season!
If you’d like to nominate a charity for consideration for next season, please contact Howard Gould, Community Liaison Officer, for an application form.