FOR Celtic Football Club and its charitable arm, 2017 will go down in history as a record-breaking year of success. And looking ahead, success is set to continue with the imminent launch of Celtic FC Foundation’s #LionsLegacy projects.
Following a range of fundraising events across six wonderful days in May, honouring the 50th anniversary of Celtic’s 1967 European Cup victory, the #LionsLegacy campaign saw an incredible £2million raised to support projects across the UK and beyond.
Peter Lawwell, Celtic FC Chief Executive, said: “We wanted to do something special to mark this very special year and we think what we have done is a fitting legacy to the Lions and all their achievements. It also shows the importance of Celtic’s social dimension, something which will always be fundamental to everything we do.
“I would like to thank our supporters and all others who assisted and worked with the club on this campaign – now the work begins on making a positive difference to the lives of so many people in need, through the delivery of these excellent projects.
“Once again, I would also like to offer a heartfelt thank you and congratulations to the Lisbon Lions who have worked tirelessly and have been magnificent ambassadors for our great club for more than 50 years.”
Tony Hamilton, Celtic FC Foundation Chief Executive, added: “Credit goes to the Celtic support firstly for backing what we set out to do through the #LionsLegacy campaign. They are a credit to everyone associated with Celtic”.
“Thanks also to everyone who gave us their time and talent – people like Gerard Burns the artist, photographer David Yarrow, our London dinner committee, Simple Minds, Susan Boyle and so many others. Similarly we wouldn’t be in this position without a number of excellent partners.
“Our focus now is to ensure world-class delivery of these projects and to continue to work with many partners who share our values.”
Across multiple areas, the #LionsLegacy projects will comprise:
Celtic FC Foundation’s extensive Dementia Care projects focus primarily on providing therapeutic relief for patients as well as offering respite for carers.
Specifically, this will see us partner with Alzheimer Scotland for two major initiatives. This will include a reminiscence project as well as a two-year initiative providing regular contact for those living with dementia, entitled ‘Lions Lunch Breaks’ and ‘Dementia Befrienders’ respectively.
Allied to this, Celtic FC Foundation will link up with Edinburgh’s Eric Liddell Centre to deliver ‘Liddell Lions Lunch Breaks’ – a concept emphasising social interaction, creative enjoyment and physical activity.
The Foundation is also working alongside Belfast’s Northern Ireland Hospice to enhance the scale of their ‘Dementia Day Hospice’, ensuring more people from the South and East of the city can access vital services.
In Glasgow, we are also teaming up with the new Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice to improve facilities and allow families to enjoy a peaceful, comfortable space.
Henry Simmons, Alzheimer Scotland Chief Executive, said: “We really appreciate the opportunity to work in partnership with Celtic FC Foundation to address dementia, the biggest generational health and social care challenge we face.
“By working positively together to challenge dementia, through the creation of a new Befriending project and Reminiscence initiative, we can significantly improve the lives of those living with the condition.”
John MacMillan, Eric Liddell Centre Chief Executive, said: “The new ‘Liddell Lions Lunch Breaks’ project will provide more people with dementia the opportunity to share a nutritious lunch and enrichment activities once a week with their family and carers.
“The Eric Liddell Centre is absolutely delighted to partner with Celtic FC Foundation in this area and we can’t wait to get started.”
Heather Weir, Northern Ireland Hospice Chief Executive, said: “Northern Ireland Hospice is thrilled to be supported by Celtic FC Foundation. Our shared vision of supporting local people living with an advancing dementia will see the expansion and widening of access to palliative dementia care services in Belfast.
“Thank you for this vital funding, it will make a difference for so many.”
This initiative, delivered in partnership with Mary’s Meals, will see us build 67 sustainable school feeding areas in parts of the developing world, with an emphasis on Malawi and up to 80,000 children will be fed every day.
Fittingly, this initiative also encompasses contributions from Celtic Supporters’ Clubs, allowing fans to charitably unite – in honour of the Lisbon Lions – and deliver a sustainable legacy aiding some of the world’s poorest children.
Greatly enhancing school infrastructure, each kitchen will provide a safe, dedicated area for meals to be prepared. When not used for school feeding, the buildings will form classrooms, with blackboards painted on internal walls.
Further to this, 67 Kitchens will also provide emergency food aid to the war-torn country of South Sudan, where millions of people are displaced due to conflict.
Daniel Adams, Executive Director, Mary’s Meals UK, said: “The 67 Kitchens partnership is a wonderful example of the ways in which Celtic FC Foundation and CSCs are making a lasting difference to the lives of thousands of children around the world.
“School feeding offers a simple and effective path to education, and we thank Celtic FC Foundation, and Celtic supporters everywhere, for helping to restore a sense of stability and hope in children whose lives are being disrupted by conflict or hunger.”
A flagship initiative for Celtic FC Foundation, the multi-award winning Ability Counts project will see improvements to the current scale of provision across all areas. This includes expanding the scope of delivery for our Down’s Syndrome, Autism and 18+ strands, as well as introducing a similar development model in Ireland.
Significantly, proceeds from the #LionsLegacy campaign will also see the Foundation create a Sensory Room, located within Celtic Park’s east stand and overlooking the pitch.
Planned in considered consultation with industry professionals, the Sensory Room will allow children and young people to learn and develop in real world scenarios, such as those typically encountered in a footballing environment.
Celtic FC Foundation’s Sensory Room has also drawn acclaim from equality organisation, The Shippey Campaign – a group advocating for the implementation of Sensory Rooms in football stadia across the UK.
Peter and Kate Shippey, founders of The Shippey Campaign, said: “Celtic FC Foundation’s Sensory Room will be a welcome addition of significant benefit to many supporters, who up until now may have struggled, or not been able to watch live football inside the stadium.
“It has been a pleasure to support Celtic FC Foundation throughout this development, and we will continue to support them going forward.”
Closer to home, the #LionsLegacy funding will see significant improvements to the Foundation’s Learning Centre at Celtic Park – a key delivery site for multiple employability and health-related projects.
In London, Celtic FC Foundation will partner with The Ireland Fund of Great Britain to develop their ‘Irish Cultural Centre Elders Programme’ in Hammersmith. Part of The Forgotten Irish Campaign, this initiative will ensure a vibrant social hub for London’s Irish community, promoting welfare through culture and heritage.
Staying in London, across the city in Tower Hamlets, #LionsLegacy funding will facilitate further delivery of our Breaking Barriers project. Celtic FC Foundation’s Breaking Barriers project works with young adults to combat problems in the community by delivering practical elements designed to foster social change.