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To Dare, To Do, Together: Tottenham Hotspur’s response to COVID-19

Thu 18 June 2020, 09:30|Tottenham Hotspur

• Club releases video telling the story of how it has supported its local community and engaged its fans throughout the pandemic.
• Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has been handed over to the NHS since April to accommodate COVID-19 testing and North Middlesex Hospital’s Women’s Outpatient Services.
• Stadium has also accommodated a local food distribution hub, supported by fresh produce from the Club’s Training Centre and a helping hand from Jose Mourinho.
• Students and staff the London Academy of Excellence have produced protective face shields for the front line.
• Players – past and present – have stayed in touch with fans and our local community via phone and video calls.
• Club’s Foundation has continued to deliver physical exercise classes and other programmes online.

The Club has today released ‘To Dare, To Do, Together’ – the story of Tottenham Hotspur’s response to COVID-19.

On the eve of our return to football and with many of the nation’s lockdown measures beginning to ease, we can now take the opportunity to reflect on this unprecedented time in our history.

Our world was turned upside down on Friday 13 March, 2020, when the suspension of the professional game was announced due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

The following days saw the country head into lockdown, causing widespread uncertainty and altering our daily lives indefinitely as we were asked to stay at home to protect our NHS and those most vulnerable around us.

The Club has always taken pride in its role within the community – never was that going to be more important than at this time, and we acted immediately.

Food intended for sale at the postponed Manchester United game was immediately donated to the Felix Project – a charity that provides surplus food to charities and schools so they can provide healthy meals to help the most vulnerable in our society.

As it became apparent that events would not be held at our stadium for some time, we offered use of our iconic venue to fight the pandemic.

Supporting our NHS

Having offered use of our facilities to the NHS, April saw the transformation of our stadium to assist North Middlesex University Hospital in its fight against COVID-19.

The stadium became one of the first in the country to be used to conduct drive-through COVID-19 testing and swabbing, utilising our huge basement car park.

The transferral of the hospital’s Women’s Outpatient Services, meanwhile, was designed to free up much-needed capacity at the hospital itself to treat patients facing COVID symptoms whilst supporting the redirection of pregnant women away from the hospital during the pandemic.

This resulted in recognisable areas of our stadium being transformed for clinical use:

• Our Media Entrance and Café became a main reception and welfare area for visitors and NHS staff.
• The NFL Away changing room areas became a Maternal Day Unit.
• Our Flash interview rooms off of the players’ tunnel – where post-match TV interviews are normally conducted – as well as the referees’ area, became consultation and scanning rooms.
• The football Away dressing room area became a Midwives Clinical Room and staff Admin Office.

In addition, state-of-the-art Design, Technology and Engineering equipment at the London Academy of Excellence Tottenham has been used to produce protective face shields for NHS staff on the front-line at our local hospitals and GP surgeries.

The state-funded Sixth Form is sponsored by Tottenham Hotspur and Highgate School – based within Lilywhite House, adjacent to our new stadium.

Last week, we announced that we had worked to ensure these vital NHS services could continue alongside the return of football at the stadium.

Helping feed the most vulnerable within our community

Within the South Stand ‘pitch pocket’, a food hub has been created and used as a storage, packing and distribution base by Haringey Council and Edible London, working through the Connected Communities project to deliver balanced and nutritious food parcels to the most vulnerable people in the community.

Food donated included fresh fruit and vegetables grown at the Kitchen Garden within the Club’s Training Centre, delivered to the stadium by Jose Mourinho. Players and staff from Tottenham Hotspur Women have also given up their time to volunteer at the hub.

Again, the food distribution hub will continue at the stadium alongside the return of football.

Foundation continues to deliver

Tottenham Hotspur Foundation has continued to deliver its programmes online where possible, including virtual yoga sessions for those on its ‘Move 4 You’ cancer rehabilitation programme, virtual seated exercise classes delivered within local elderly care homes, and virtual Kicks sessions for local teenagers.

Japhet Tanganga joined a video call with Tottenham-based Kicks participants to take part in a Q&A session about his career to date and offering advice to the budding young footballers in a bid to keep their spirits up during lockdown.

The Foundation also continued to provide employment advice and upskilling activities, teaching Functional Skills courses, and personal development and character-building activities online.

Foundation staff have been undertaking a series of phone calls to those considered most vulnerable across our local Boroughs on the advice of our partners, including those who would normally be engaged in Foundation projects.

Staying connected to our fans

Players past and present have been interacting with fans young and old throughout this period, led by the legendary Gary Mabbutt who has been making daily phone calls to Season Ticket Holders over the age of 70 who have been celebrating their birthdays during lockdown.

First team defender Jan Vertonghen also played his part with a surprise video call to lifelong fan Beryl Gill on her 80th birthday.

We have continued to recognise the fantastic work of our official Supporters’ Club, who have been continuing to support their own communities around the world.

Special mentions go to:

Maidenhead Spurs and Maiden City Spurs – who have helped support their local hospitals.
Toronto Spurs – who have built a community support network, with members volunteering their time to run errands for those who are vulnerable or self-isolating.
DC Spurs and Louisville Spurs – who have raised funds for staff at their home pubs whose jobs have been impacted by the lockdown.

During Mental Health Awareness Week, the Club and its players delivered daily acts of kindness to some special young fans who have been supporting their communities and families during lockdown.

Our #ToCareIsToDo campaign on social saw Hugo Lloris, Erik Lamela, Ryan Sessegnon, Lucas Moura and Harry Winks all gifting items including signed boots and gloves.

Toby Alderweireld went a step further by buying and donating mobile tablets to hospitals both within our local area and back home in Belgium so that patients could stay in touch with their loved ones. One recipient was 93-year-old fan Betty Wells at North Middlesex Hospital, who received a surprise video call from Toby himself.

Our social media channels have also been used to keep fans engaged with exclusive content throughout this period without live football:

• We’ve enjoyed seeing photos and videos of fans being creative in lockdown via our #SpursAtHome campaign.
• Our School of Spurs resource pack gave kids and parents something to do at home with schools closed across the country.
• Video sessions of the Foundation’s ‘Shape Up With Spurs’ programme were made available for families to stay active while at home.

And we won’t stop here...

Our #HotspurHeroes campaign was launched to recognise Spurs-supporting key workers who have been instrumental in fighting COVID-19.

We have opened it up to our fans to nominate their Heroes and have received a fantastic response so far – keep your nominations coming.

#HotspurHeroes will continue long beyond the COVID-19 outbreak and is now being supported by Cadbury, our new Official Snack Partner.

And finally, with the football now set to restart on Friday, we have launched our Summer of Spurs campaign to help fans make the most of matchdays without being able to visit the stadium. We look forward to seeing you get involved.

We should also like to take this opportunity to remember those who have lost their lives to COVID-19. A moment’s silence will be held ahead of kick-off against Manchester United on Friday night, with a special tribute page in the matchday programme. Our thoughts continue to be with all those affected at this time.