THE 1874 COLUMN - By Matt Waters

SINCE our inception back in 2012, mental health and the wellbeing of our supporters has always been crucial to us as a club, and it has never been as important as now during these testing times.

During the 2019/2020 season, as a club we discussed how we could make a difference within our community this year with our move to Barnton.

Thanks to our fan engagement team, it was decided that we would make an extended offer for those suffering with mental health would be allowed to enter our home games for free.

We felt it was absolutely necessary to reach out to those within our football family and those in the local community to reassure them that they were not alone during the winter months and we were there to support them.

Through this initiative, we have formed great partnerships with Mind UK and also The Samaritans, who have also visited us on matchdays on several occasions.

However, while we are unable to play football at the moment during these difficult times due to Covid-19, we at 1874 still believe it’s a huge importance that our fanbase have the support they need to cope with lockdown.

As a club, we are using various different channels of support to make sure that all of our supporters are receiving some added support which truly shows how much of a family 1874 is.

One of the ways that vice chairman Rob Ashcroft has highlighted is through calling certain members of our fanbase.

He said: “Before the lockdown, people at the club have always been used to visiting or calling supporters who are less active and mobile to keep them in the loop.

“We’ve doubled our efforts to keep in touch with people who are self-isolating and with some who are perhaps feeling a little more vulnerable to offer a friendly voice and make sure that they know their club is there.

“It is important that 1874 can offer a helping hand especially at the moment. All this is part of the club’s DNA, it is not something that has happened because of the exceptional times we find ourselves in, but it is how this club has always operated.”

Rob also alluded to an email that was sent out to club members for anyone who is suffering during these times can receive support from the club and relevant charities that the club can connect them with which numerous people have been extremely grateful for!

Our football secretary Vicki England also added how important our social media outreach is to keep people connected to the club.

She said: “One of the extremely positive things about our club has always been its ability to offer excellent communication lines with its supporters.

“We constantly reach out on social media, either about the football or about our extremely important community and wellbeing initiatives and this allows us to interact with a large number of people, right across Northwich and globally especially in these testing times.”