Stenhousemuir FC’s community help hotline was recognised as a Community Anchor Organisation (CAO) by the Scottish Government and National Lottery Community Fund last month for the way in which it has supported hundreds of families amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The efforts of volunteers, who have devoted more than 11,500 hours to helping vulnerable individuals with everyday tasks, have earned The Warriors the cash windfall.
The money will be given to Larbert High, the school’s charity and the Keeping Larbert and Stenhousemuir Beautiful (KLSB) Community Pantry.
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Stenny have secured £11,000 to enable Larbert High to buy a granulator, an innovative machine capable of recycling plastics.
The school, alongside other partner networks, is part of a ViseUp initiative which has manufactured and distributed more than 50,000 face visors to key workers, hospitals, pharmacies, nursing and care homes throughout Scotland.
The machine will allow Larbert High to greatly increase production as it processes plastic waste into fine granules, reforms it and fuses the plastic back into a usable sheet, suitable for visors and a variety of other uses.
Mhairi McAinsh, art and design teacher, said: “Both the granulator and sheet press will be hugely beneficial not only for our students, but for the local community in the long-term too in the way we recycle and reuse our plastic waste.
“We can hopefully inspire much more greener-thinking individuals, whilst creating a real legacy for future generations to help engage in reducing our carbon footprint.”
Its charity will also benefit from the funding, with £1000 set to be used to provide free stationery for disadvantaged young people.
Emma McMinn, PT PEFSCOT at Larbert High School, said: “We have had a long-standing partnership with Stenhousemuir Football Club and recent events have led to us working even more closely with them.
“The Warriors have played an essential role in delivering lunches and food parcels to families in crisis and have now secured funding for fundamental school learning resources, such as stationery, through their new Community Anchor Organisation role.
“The school has distributed over 100 free stationery boxes and five shops in the school communities now have a Help Yourself Box of free stationery and feminine hygiene products.
“Stenhousemuir FC and their team of amazing volunteers have been an invaluable link between the school and our community during the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic. We can’t thank them enough.”
Elsewhere, £5000 has been awarded to the KLSB Community Pantry, which gives out vital weekly food parcels throughout the year to local residents.
Even before the effects of the pandemic had been felt, several residents and families in the area would approach the Dobbie Hall-based initiative for weekly food parcels.
That number has only gone up since lockdown began and it’s why KLSB volunteers are immensely grateful for the support they’ve been shown by Stenhousemuir FC’s community help hotline.
KLSB member Sheona McMorran said: “We cannot thank Stenhousemuir FC enough for this donation. This will be used to refurbish the food pantry to make it a welcoming environment for pantry users going forward from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We’ve also had loads of support from Councillor Laura Murtagh and Councillor Gary Bouse. We would never have got to where we are without their support and guidance with a variety of things. We would also like to thank the Dobbie Hall Trust because they give us the premises.
“We envisage the number of our pantry users will increase due to people being financially constrained, perhaps being self-employed, job losses and being furloughed during the pandemic.
“Our vision for the pantry is to create a non-judgemental, friendly, relaxed atmosphere where people can come to collect pantry items, have a chat with a volunteer and receive support if they require it.”
Stenhousemuir FC chief executive officer Jamie Swinney said: “We are grateful that we have been able to support some fantastic local projects.
“The team at Larbert High have created and donated 50,000 visors which is extraordinary.
“We have now supplied a granulator which will make the production significantly more efficient short-term whilst also transforming the way our community uses plastic waste long-term.
“Our partners KLSB are looking after 100 families, sourcing and packing 300 bags of food every week. It’s incredibly inspiring.
“Our funding will support this amazing organisation long-term by enabling them to make upgrades to the facility to support vulnerable people every week for many years to come.
“Finally, Larbert High School Charity has donated free stationery packs to schoolchildren so they can continue their education at home. This funding will help to facilitate so much of the amazing working taking place in our locality, and perhaps more importantly, will create a legacy that will support our community for many years to come.”
Stenhousemuir FC is aiming to extend its services to vulnerable people beyond lockdown and is asking for help to achieve its ambition.
By signing up to its ‘Support our community, protect your club’ campaign, fans can play a part in the club’s future for £5 a month.
Visit the website for more information.