IT’S been another fantastic year for Celtic Football Club and Celtic FC Foundation with unprecedented success and record-breaking achievements on and off the pitch – and with 2019 just around the corner, we reflect on a breathless 12 months for the club’s charitable arm.
The incredible success of this year has been typified by the immense generosity of supporters at home and abroad. And in the last few days, the Foundation announced yet another jaw-dropping total, as an incredible sum of £240,000 was raised for December’s Annual Christmas Appeal.
However, it’s important to remember that this level of charitable support has been present across the year – and for our end of year review, we take a look at Celtic FC Foundation’s top five highlights of 2018.
5. Community Outreach
In association with Glasgow North East Foodbank, Celtic Park played host to food collections in May and August – with a cumulative seven-and-a-half tonnes of essential items donated from supporters. April and November also saw community lunches for Glasgow’s homeless and most vulnerable individuals, and around 400 guests attended Celtic Park’s Kerrydale Suite across both events.
4. Gala Dinners
2018 was very much an international affair for Celtic FC Foundation, seeing gala dinners in Donegal, London and New York.
Proceedings kicked-off in March at Donegal’s Silver Tassie Hotel, as a sell-out crowd packed out ‘One Night in Donegal with Brendan Rodgers’ – an intimate and fun-filled event with the Celtic manager.
In May, the Foundation headed down south, hosting a gala dinner at London’s Four Seasons Hotel at Ten Trinity Square, drawing tremendous support from legends, supporters and sponsors alike.
Late autumn rounded-off things in style in The Big Apple, as Celtic FC Foundation played host to 250 attendees at our Inaugural New York Gala Dinner in Manhattan. In association with the Ireland Funds of America, the dinner raised a phenomenal sum of 200,000 dollars on an unforgettable night for everyone associated with Celtic Football Club.
3. Expanded Project Delivery
Celtic FC Foundation’s project delivery is reaching more people than ever before, and from mid-2017 to June 2018, this scale and spread saw us directly engage around 6,000 individuals.
With 30 live projects across Health, Equality, Learning and Poverty, the Foundation continues to engage a broad range of groups through employability projects, health and wellbeing initiatives, diversionary work, and disability sport activities.
Following 2017’s #LionsLegacy campaign, Celtic FC Foundation moved quickly to put plans in action, launching the 67 Kitchens project, Ability Counts Ireland and a series of dementia care initiatives. Affirming the Foundation’s commitment to international outreach, the 67 Kitchens project (alongside donations from Celtic Supporters’ Clubs and international development charity, Mary’s Meals) has established feeding programmes in Malawi and Zambia – where meals are now being served to around 40,000 children every single day.
This summer also saw the launch of Ability Counts Ireland, taking the Foundation’s flagship disability sports project to the Irish capital, Dublin. Alongside partners from Down Syndrome Ireland, this initiative builds on the long-standing success of existing Ability Counts strands, focusing on multi-sport play and personal development.
February witnessed another landmark moment for the Foundation, linking up with Edinburgh-based charity, the Eric Liddell Centre, to launch ‘Liddell Lions Lunch Breaks’ – helping those living with dementia as well as their carers. Separately, April saw a similar partnership with experts from renowned charity, Alzheimer Scotland – delivering responsive and engaging activities for carers, and those living with early to mid-stages of dementia.
1. A Match for Cancer
Last but not least on our countdown, is September’s showpiece charity encounter, ‘A Match for Cancer’ and the accompanying ‘An Evening with Petrov and Milner’ dinner. The match saw Celtic‘s own Stiliyan Petrov face-off against his old friend and ex-team-mate, James Milner, in charitable unity.
Drawing support from across the footballing world, ‘A Match for Cancer’ featured Milner’s current boss at Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp, pitting his wits against Celtic manager, Brendan Rodgers, as well as appearances from footballing icons like Henrik Larsson and Hristo Stoichkov.
The game and dinner generated £208,753 for Petrov and Milner’s respective foundations, as well as beneficiaries the Beatson Cancer Charity and the Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity – and on that weekend in September, Cancer had certainly met its match.
Honourable Mention: Supporters Worldwide
And finally, no highlights list would be complete without paying tribute to the Foundation’s most important asset: Celtic supporters worldwide.
From bucket collections, to gala dinners, to charity auctions, to everything in between, Celtic FC Foundation has been able to count on your unwavering support throughout the year.
All of the above has been made possible through your immeasurable generosity and dedication – please do not ever underestimate the difference you have made.
Thank you – and onwards to 2019.