COWDENBEATH FC can reveal this week that community trusts and associated SPFL clubs delivered over 2,800 Christmas gift boxes to people in Scotland who were at risk of social isolation and loneliness as part of their Festive Friends at Home 2020 campaign.

And in doing so it marked the biggest ever Festive Friends Christmas programme, with more clubs, more people engaged, more volunteers, more partners and more funding than ever before.

Cowden, working with Cowdenbeath Rotary Club, have been involved in the Festive Friends Initiative for several years, and normally host a Christmas evening at the rotary home at Wee Jimmies.

However, with their meetings currently suspended due to Covid regulations, the Rotarians and the Blue Brazil sent hampers to senior citizens all over the Cowdenbeath-Lochgelly district.

As part of the new-look initiative Cowdenbeath delivered 30 boxes to members of the local community that were packed with Christmas food and other goodies.

Among them was Sidney Arnold, from Crossgates, who celebrated his 90th birthday and is pictured receiving his hamper from rotary president Yolanda Hilton.

The scale of the project meant that volunteers were crucial to help with the volume of deliveries.

This year's programme was generously funded by James Anderson and the SPFL Trust’s second anonymous donor, who between them provided £87,700. Importantly, community trusts and SPFL clubs were able to leverage additional funding through local partners to widen access. In total, an additional £12,190 was raised.

Partnerships were also key to this year’s campaign and Cowden were again delighted to enlist the aid of local partner, the Rotary Club, to help with a variety of things from packing, delivery and additional goodies for the boxes. The Aldi store, in Cowdenbeath, also played their part in supplying the food and other goodies whilst Lochgelly Fire Station enclosed a free Fire Safety leaflet.

Cowden director, Tom Ewing, said: “This year’s Festive Friends initiative was indeed a departure from those of the past but it really was a most heart-warming experience.

“It was an absolute delight to be able to spread some Christmas cheer in the depths of a cold Covid winter and we had a wonderful reception on the doorsteps from our local recipients.

“At Central Park we are proud to be at the heart of such a truly close knit community and it was a privilege to take part in Festive Friends 2020 with our friends from the Rotary Club of Cowdenbeath”.

SPFL Trust interim chief executive, Warren Hawke, commented: "We're pleased to see the widespread support and compassion of community trusts and the associated SPFL clubs.

“It's incredible to see how Scottish football stepped up to help such a large number of those in need.

"The stories of individuals across the country shine through in the number of deliveries made. It arguably has meant more, reached more and been felt by more than ever before.

"We're incredibly grateful for the generous donations from James Anderson and our anonymous donor who helped make this possible."