The Chelsea Foundation is continuing its work in the local community during the coronavirus pandemic with new ways of interacting with participants.
Among the new concepts and in a bid to reduce social isolation among older and vulnerable participants and fans, the Foundation has been using our former players as a means to stay connected with the older generation of Chelsea supporters.
Pat Nevin kicked things off with a personal message about his time at Chelsea while Tore Andre Flo and Dennis Wise are among others to share their career highlights in video messages which Foundation staff have shared with family members of our senior participants.
A workbook is also being created to keep participants engaged and busy while Foundation staff are personally calling older fans and participants as well as ex-players for a friendly chat to help reduce feelings of isolation among those most vulnerable within the community, currently having to remain at home.
The interaction has not stopped there either with former Chelsea player Gary Chivers recently joining the Chelsea Foundation walking footballers for an online chat.
Following the coronavirus outbreak, people have been asked to follow Government guidelines and stay home to help control the virus.
This has meant the Foundation’s weekly Walking Football sessions have temporarily come to a stop and so former Blues defender Chivers checked in on our walking football participants to ensure they were keeping well.
Spirits were high during the online video call as Chivers reflected on his time with Chelsea, the best manager he worked under and his goal against Newcastle in 1980.
Chivers, who now works for the club in the hospitality boxes on a matchday at Stamford Bridge, said: ‘If I can do anything to help anyone in times like we are experiencing now it still wouldn’t be enough.
‘I have always seen Chelsea Football Club as a family club and the way they look after their former players is exceptional.
‘If I can take 40 minutes out of my day to speak with other supporters who may be isolated or not, that is no bother to me but it does matter that these people know that someone is there for them.
‘I will definitely be joining them in a session when things get back to normal!’
Walking football co-ordinator Mark Blythe said: ‘Our first Chelsea Foundation walking football online meeting was amazing.
‘Hearing the older guys reminiscing with Chelsea legend Gary Chivers and asking him about games and players they remembered was priceless.
‘There hasn’t been much to laugh about recently, three of our guys have been in hospital, but to hear them laughing out loud with the football stories and banter was brilliant.
‘Without prompting they all text me afterwards to say how much they loved it and can they do it again!
‘They said when they are back we should remind Gary he has promised to come and play walking football.’