Project 35 takeover fixture

Tonnes of Tins at Project 35 Takeover

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In the days leading up to the Greens’ Sky Bet League One victory over Shrewsbury Town at Home Park for our Project 35 takeover fixture, we put out the call for supporters to bring a tin of long-life food to be donated to Plymouth Foodbank.

The Green Army answered that call, and went way further than anyone at the club, our Project 35 partner Ginsters, or Plymouth Foodbank could have dreamt.

Our target was to fill one food delivery van of produce to be taken the Oasis Project Café in Stonehouse, where the foodbank is based. The Argyle family filled five.

Project 35 is our landmark social action initiative aimed at reducing poverty in Plymouth, through a comprehensive campaign of fund-raising, awareness raising, social outreach, food donations, education, and charity support.

The Project's titular number, 35, represents the percentage of children in Plymouth reported to be living in poverty in some wards of our city, according to the most recent (2019) pre-pandemic data.

Over the course of the evening, our supporters attended the food drop-off point outside the Argyle Superstore in their droves, with many opting to bring bags of food over a single can.

However much supporters donated, we thank you. In total, the activity generated an incredible 2.6 tonnes of produce, filling five vans, and adding up to the equivalent of 2,965 meals for local families in need.

Plymouth Foodbank supports an estimated 9,000 people per calendar year, providing in excess of 80,000 meals – but that demand is rising amidst one of the toughest cost-of-living periods in history. Providing nearly 3,000 meals over the course of the Project 35 Takeover evening is a remarkable achievement.

Andrew Denham, Project Coordinator at Plymouth Foodbank, said: "I want to say how blown over we are by the generosity and kindness of so many people. It comes at a time where donations are down significantly, around 81%, with demand up by around 76%. This is around a 10-tonne shortfall compared to the same time last year.

"Now we're moving into a period where cost of living is really beginning to cause challenges, our demand is even higher. Huge thank you to everyone's support. As a charity we rely completely on donations and volunteers. Without the support we wouldn't be here. We are so grateful.

"It has come at such a vital time for us. A time that we were genuinely concerned we wouldn't have enough resource to keep up with demand."

Dan Hart, Head of Community Engagement at Argyle Community Trust, said: “We were overwhelmed by the support of everyone who donated.

“We’ve never done anything on this scale before, so we truly didn’t know what to expect. Once again, the Argyle family has evidenced its community spirit. Thank you so much.

“Times are tough for everyone, and I’m sure it won’t have been easy for many people to be donating food at this time, either. The fact that they did speaks volumes about what a special club Argyle is, and how the power of football and sport can be harnessed for social good.”

The food was transported to Plymouth Foodbank using logistics support kindly provided by Ginsters – whose partnership with Argyle has made delivering Project 35 possible.

Debbie Moss, Ginsters Brand Communications Coordinator, one of a number of Ginsters representatives driving Project 35 from its inception, was also heavily involved on the night.

She said: “We were truly overwhelmed by the support and engagement of the fans on Tuesday evening. Despite the weather, people turned up early to do their bit and be part of Project 35, giving a tin, or in some cases, delivering a car boot full of food items! The Green Army did not fail to amaze us all.”

“It was a very humbling experience to be part of, and we look forward to continuing to work together with the club and The Argyle Trust to deliver more important initiatives like this for Project 35.”

Project 35 activities are not just limited to food support, and activities throughout Devon and Cornwall are taking place during school half term, including the Project 35 Festival in Callington, where 130 children participated in a football tournament before being presented with a replica Pilgrims home shirt, donated by Ginsters, by Argyle stars Macaulay Gillesphey and Danny Mayor.

With Project 35 gathering pace and new initiatives launching weekly, we continue to put the call out for Argyle supporters and members of the community to join our Pledge 35 volunteering scheme – with hundreds of volunteers already signed up.

For more information on Project 35, visit our dedicated landing page.

To sign up for Pledge 35, click here.

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