Thanks to your incredible support, 2023 has been yet another immensely successful year for Celtic Football Club and Celtic FC Foundation.
The success and record-breaking achievements we have enjoyed on and off the pitch this year have been unprecedented – and with 2024 just around the corner, we thought it appropriate to reflect on the past 12 months and detail the Foundation’s magnificent seven highlights of 2023:
PARADISE PIT STOP
On Monday, January 30 this year, we hosted our inaugural ‘Paradise Pit Stop’ session. Since then we have seen over 12,000 hot meals and drinks served to over 7,000 individuals and we are now open four days a week.
We also opened our doors for a very special Christmas Day ‘Paradise Pit Stop’. 200 guests were present for a three-course Christmas dinner, entertainment and a visit from the Celtic manager, Brendan Rodgers.
In the last few days, the Foundation announced yet another jaw-dropping total, as an incredible sum of £397,000 was raised for December’s Annual Christmas Appeal – making it our most successful ever.
The cost-of-living crisis has continued to have a crippling effect on so many families and individuals within our communities, so this year’s Appeal has been just as crucial as ever before, if not even more so.
And, in a period when so many supporters continue to be personally impacted financially, the backing we have received for the Appeal from the Celtic family has yet again been truly outstanding, inspirational and humbling. As always, you have selflessly stepped up when others have needed your help most.
2023 saw the Foundation host its usual slate of Gala Dinners in Glasgow, London and New York, with record breaking totals raised at each of them.
We kicked-off proceedings in March with the long-standing flagship Sporting Dinner, sponsored by David McDonald Financial Services. It was our most successful to date as an astonishing net total in the region of £125,000 was raised and we were joined by then Celtic Manager, Ange Postecoglou, members of the men’s and women’s first teams, and former players, Tom Boyd, Peter Grant and John Hughes.
In April the Foundation headed stateside, for our New York Gala at Cipriani 25 Broadway. Over 400 guests were in attendance for a very special, one-off performance from the rock and roll legend Rod Stewart, and we were also joined by Gordon Strachan who featured as Sporting Honoree. A staggering net total in the region of $500,000 was raised and the success of the evening was a credit to the hard work and commitment of our Gala Dinner Committee, led by Foundation Trustee Paul Geaney.
Finally, we rounded things off in style at our gala dinner in London’s Four Seasons Hotel at Ten Trinity Square, drawing tremendous support from legends, supporters and sponsors alike and raising yet another record net total of over £410,000.
CASHBACK: GATEWAY TO OPPORTUNITY
Now in its tenth year of Foundation delivery, 2023 seen us secure Phase 6 funding to deliver another three-years of our well-established CashBack Gateway to Opportunities project.
CashBack engages with young adults aged between 16 and 24, who have offended, are at risk of (re)offending, or who live in an area with a high risk of crime. The project has developed consistently and offers three strands of delivery, focusing on core delivery at Celtic Park – which now includes accredited training, prison outreach work, and our essential mental health support delivered via our in-house Trauma Counsellor.
We celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the merger between Celtic Charity Fund and Celtic Foundation through a series of social media and news releases.
It was October 21, 2013, when it was agreed that the natural progression was for both units to merge and become a new, stronger Scottish Charity (SCIO) with a wider role and greater reach. This new entity was named Celtic FC Foundation.
Today, the Foundation’s ethos is typified by a determination to create opportunities for society’s most vulnerable and marginalised groups – principally, we address root causes of poverty by equipping individuals with the tools and means to reverse inequality.
As always, a host of groups of supporters and individuals selflessly held their own fundraising events and initiatives across 2023 to raise funds for the Foundation.
These included a trek of Machu Picchu, cycle from Glasgow to Seville, walks, runs, football matches, golf tournaments, cycles, events and donations from the proceeds of two plays in Glasgow – The Tommy Burns Story and Bend it Like Brattbakk
Celtic FC Foundation’s Supporters’ Committee also celebrated 20 years since Celtic reached the UEFA Cup Final with their ‘Seville: The Celtic Way’ event at the Argyll Suite in the Crowne Plaza, raising £21,000.
Finally, this highlights’ list wouldn’t be possible without the immense generosity of the Celtic family, and it is something that we will never take for granted.
Throughout the year, we were able to count on the unwavering commitment of Celtic supporters worldwide – from bucket collections, to gala dinners, to charity auctions, to everything in between.
Thank you – and onwards to 2024.