Matlock Town have announced that they will be hosting a Christmas Day Lunch for anyone from the local community who wishes to attend.
This will be the third time that the Gladiators have hosted an event like this but it will be the first time they have been able to organise this special community event since the beginning of the Covid pandemic.
The announcement of the return of this annual event has been met very warmly by Gladiators fans and members of the local community alike online on social media.
Matlock Town's chairman, Bryn Apperley, stated in an interview with Derbyshire Media Company that there will be more of a focus this time around on reaching out to people of all ages that are struggling with loneliness. Previous Christmas Day lunches at the club have focused on reaching out to the elderly in the local community to make sure they have company on the day. However, the circumstances of the past 20 months have really highlighted how susceptible everyone can be to feeling very lonely and struggling with their mental health. Apperley said:
"Christmas Day is not about being on your own...we want to do what we can for as many people as we can".
The club's Christmas Day lunch will take place at The Shorts Lounge clubhouse within The Proctor Cars Stadium. The lunch will be provided by The Remarkable Hare which is a pub in Matlock that has recently become one of the football club's main sponsors.
Even though restrictions have been lifted for a while now in England, Covid is still certainly far from over. Due to this, the club have confirmed what requirements and protocols will be in place for their Christmas Day event.
Apperley has confirmed that the event will be organised alongside the club's two Covid officers who will oversee everything. The Gladiators chairman also confirmed that anyone looking to volunteer for the special event would preferably be fully vaccinated against Covid. The guidance here won't be as strict for guests but lateral flow tests will be available at the ground for anyone wishing to attend the event on the day. Volunteers will also be wearing masks throughout and plenty of sanitisation points will also be available for everyone. There will also be enough room at The Shorts Lounge for social distancing to be adhered to.
The news comes as another welcome reminder that a football club isn't just about what happens there on the pitch; it's about how they look after their local community off the pitch too.
For anyone reading this who wishes to volunteer at this event, please contact Bryn Apperley via firstname.lastname@example.org