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Coronavirus latest: Stevenage pledge support to local community

Coronavirus latest: Stevenage pledge support to local community
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Chairman Phil Wallace is concerned for people who "can't use the internet, have no relatives and no way of ordering supplies or obtaining meals".

Stevenage chairman Phil Wallace hopes to make young players and other club resources available to help elderly people in the community during the coronavirus pandemic.

It is reported that over-70s will soon be told to stay at home for an extended period as Britain battles the spread of the virus.

Even though Wallace concedes the Sky Bet League Two club may struggle to survive an extended break from playing, he is determined to do what he can to help the most vulnerable in the local area.

“Whilst I understand the logic behind flattening the peak curve, so that the NHS are able to treat more people with the limited ICU beds and equipment available, this will undoubtedly cause anguish for those folks that can’t use the internet, have no relatives and no way of ordering supplies or obtaining meals,” he told the club’s official website.

“We have always prided ourselves on being a community club and now it’s time to show what that means.

“Starting immediately, we will start to work on the logistics of obtaining details of folks that will need help.

“We have kitchens we are not using, we have young players that can’t play football and we have an army of youngsters that, if asked and organised properly, would be willing to help distribute meals and obtain supplies.

“I intend to work with CEO Alex Tunbridge to make this happen. To be honest, we have no idea how the club can survive for long whilst paying players and staff with no income, but some of these folks have nobody to help them and we will make sure we’re there for them.

“If that means we cook food and prepare snacks, that is what we’ll do. If it is getting essential supplies to them, that is what we’ll do. We will be there for these people.”

A group of Crystal Palace fans failed to let the coronavirus pandemic or the Premier League being suspended stop them from completing a cycle ride to the Vitality Stadium at the weekend to raise funds for the Palace for Life Foundation.

The event for the club’s official charity had been months in the planning, but halfway through riders were informed the Eagles’ fixture at Bournemouth would no longer take place.

It did not thwart the 28 cyclists who continued on their way, completing the 120-mile journey on Saturday morning – having stopped off in Hampshire overnight – with close to £15,000 raised.

The Palace supporters even got to take their seat in the Vitality Stadium, but were unable to witness any football with the Premier League suspended until April 4.

Mike Summers, chief executive at Palace for Life Foundation, said: “Considering everything that’s gone on this week, there were times we didn’t think this ride was going to go ahead, but it just shows the power of the Palace fan base, they’ve all been fantastic throughout.

“It was a mixed feeling arriving at the Vitality Stadium, it’s empty and we’re sad there’s not a game, but there’s a great feeling of delight and camaraderie in this group.”

“We’re working with young people who are on the edge of getting into difficulties, whether that’s with crime, gangs or anti-social behaviour.

“Just because the football won’t be continuing for the next few weeks, our work will carry on, we’ll still be supporting those young people who need us and the money we’re raising here will really help.”

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