Local schoolchildren giving support to Any Old Irons this Christmas
The West Ham United family have been offering an array of assistance to the Any Old Irons over-60’s group in the last nine months, from video calls and phone calls, to newsletters, iPad loans and a new Facebook group.
Just a few weeks ago this was enhanced by another letter from a player – this time Declan Rice. The Hammers midfielder commented on how thankful all of the players are to have such passionate and loyal supporters, and offered an encouraging message of continued support from everyone at the Club and Foundation during these difficult times.
Adding to this, in the lead up to Christmas Day the West Ham United Foundation has been delivering hampers and cards, created by Essex’s Brentwood County High School (BCHS) and Warley Primary School, to some of its Any Old Irons members.
Last year, BCHS, which is one of the Foundation’s Community Hub Schools, hosted an Intergenerational Mix event consisting of a Christmas Party full of games, singing and festivities, with schoolchildren, participants of the Any Old Irons programme, and special guest Carlton Cole in attendance.
The aim of the event was to break down age stereotypes and provide a warm and open environment for children and older people to interact and engage with each other; strengthening individual’s acceptance, respect and appreciation for others, and the community.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year the event was unfortunately not possible but students at Brentwood School still wanted to send their support to the Any Old Irons, having made a lasting impression last year. Working together with the nearby Warley Primary School, staff gathered a fantastic range of donations from pupils and parents to put together 20 hampers and more than 100 Christmas cards to be given to some of the Any Old Irons.
Upon receiving news of the items, committee members from the Any Old Irons decided on the distribution of items and Foundation staff took to the streets to deliver them.
“Thank you so much. You must be so busy and I can’t believe you’ve all taken the time to do this for us. It’s such an amazing surprise - so lovely and nice to see you. Thanks to everyone involved. I can’t wait to see the Any Old Irons in person again”, commented one hamper recipient.
Community Hub Officer at Brentwood County High School (BCHS), Chris Cronin, coordinated the collaborative effort and said: “After last year’s successful event we wanted to continue to support the Any Old Irons, deciding that Christmas Hampers would be a great way to get everybody involved. The main thought behind this was to try to engage with all the Any Old Irons for the Christmas cards and gather donations for hampers for those who may not get to see family this Christmas, were on their own and who may be considered more vulnerable, so that we could hopefully put a smile on their faces during what has already been a difficult and challenging year.
“The key message we discussed with the school is to look to maintain that long-term relationship with the Any Old Irons and build on this with the hope that next year we will be in the position to host face-to-face events for them to be able to attend. The support from BCHS was amazing, with special thanks to Mrs Bush and Miss Stevenson for their fantastic efforts.”
To find out more about the Community Hub School programme, contact RWilliams@westhamunited.co.uk
To find out more about the Any Old Irons programme, contact MAbraham@westhamunited.co.uk