WHILST sport has ground to a halt over the past six weeks, clubs most certainly haven’t as they put their energies to the betterment of the local community.

Cumann Spóirt an Phobail - a community-based sports club that hails from Ballymurphy and the greater Springfield area - have been cooking up a storm as they have delivered hot meals to some of the most vulnerable members of the community and provided them with sanitising packs including toilet rolls and hand gels, as-well-as necessities like bread and milk, to help them through the Covid-19 crisis.

Over the past four weeks, members of the club have delivered four hot meals per week to just under 50 people, totalling 752 in all, with the help of the Community Foundation and Halifax, while Stacks Restaurant in Glengormley has supplied the meals.

“We’ve been visiting the vulnerable and seeing if they need anything else like their electric card topped up or anything like that,” explains Joanne McCausland, Volunteer Co-ordinator with the club.

“What we’ve been doing is delivering a freshly-cooked meal so it’s not like a foodbank thing - they don’t have to do anything apart from put it in the microwave as it was cooked that morning. It’s a good, wholesome meal like roast beef, chicken or stew.

“For each one, we’ve also made up a sanitising pack with things like toilet rolls, hand gel and that sort of thing.

“It’s all really helped keep the community spirit among the people we’re visiting and the volunteers who are doing the job. We’ve given our contact details if they need anything else like having a prescription collected. It’s given us a lift in that we’re able to put something back into the community.

“We had a few teething problems, but it’s all working like clockwork now. It’s nice to stand at the door and have a chat as we may be the only people some of them see all week.”

Members of Cumann Spóirt an Phobail have been delivering the meals and packs around Ballymurphy Ballymurphy, Springhill and the greater Springfield area including Turf Lodge, New Barnsley and Dermot Hill and round by the Whiterock.

While club members would dearly love to be out on the pitch at present, they are more than happy to put something back into the community to help those most at need during these times.

“We’re a community club and would usually do things like this, but with this crisis going on it’s needed more,” added Joanne.

“Every Monday and Thursday we would deliver where they get a couple of meals that can keep for a few days.

“It’s been non-stop so thanks to the local businesses for helping us and hopefully, if some more come on board we can sustain this as it’s something we feel we need to do for the area.”

Club volunteers have not just been delivering meals, but have come up with different challenges to help keep the engagement with its members ongoing so people of all ages don’t feel isolated and remain part of the club while keeping active

The latest was the pizza challenge that each junior member and senior Football For All members received where - in conjunction with Stacks - 110 pizza packs were delivered in line with social distancing protocols to younger members, with the aim of creating their own pizza and Stacks have provided three prizes for the winners.

Each member would design their own pizza with family members and send in a photo that would be judged by the club chairman - helping young people who may feel at a bit of a loose end at home during lock-down.

There is also a colouring competition where young members design their own poster to display in support of the NHS.

“We feel that we have to give something back at this time,” Joanne confirmed.

“We hope that we are making a good contribution and want to let everyone know that we’re here to help.

“We’d like to thank the businesses that have helped us so far and invite others to come on board so we can sustain this all further.”

If you need help or wish to help, you can contact Cumman Spóirt an Phobail through their Facebook page.