Annual Update 2020 - Big Hearts Community Trust

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Annual Update 2020


Off the pitch Big Hearts Community Trust is an award-winning charity committed to changing lives in the community surrounding Tynecastle Park, the home of Heart of Midlothian Football Club. In the third and final year of our strategy to reduce social isolation, we swiftly adapted our activity in response to the devastating Coronavirus pandemic. After hosting projects at the Stadium for the past five years, our charity’s staff and volunteers developed alternative ways to address the most urgent needs of vulnerable adults and children living in South West Edinburgh. In these unprecedented times, our organisation demonstrated new areas of strength: over 8,000 people were supported by Big Hearts - three times more than in the previous year.

Contents: P4 | Delivering Covid-19 relief

This annual update 2020 outlines Big Hearts’ crucial work from the early stages of the Covid-19 outbreak, and how we have managed to be there for people who require our help most.

P8 | Leading The Recovery

With a dedicated staff team, a strong network of partner organisations and hundreds of big-hearted supporters by our side, Big Hearts is now taking new ambitious steps to improve outcomes in Gorgie-Dalry across 2021 and beyond.

P18 | Developing Fundraising

P12 | A Year Like No Other P14 | Promoting Resilience

P22 | People with Big Hearts



"During the first week of lockdown, the mother of Ethan and Sofia, 8 and 11 years old, got in touch via Facebook asking for help with food. The family had been previously identified as vulnerable, due to financial insecurities and experience of mental health issues, with the siblings attending our School’s Out project. Big Hearts delivered a bag of groceries the following day. Having an informal chat by the car helped Ethan and Sofia’s mum unload her worries: staying at home and away from their school friends was difficult for the children and they did not want to leave their bedroom anymore. Over the following 12 weeks, we provided relief parcels to encourage the family to engage in positive activities, like baking or arts and crafts. Big Hearts ordered a tablet for them to stay in touch with the outside world and attend our weekly online chats. The visit from Big Hearts became a happy routine in the household, with Ethan and Sofia’s mum calling it ‘a ray of sunshine’ during difficult times. Chatting with our staff was the only face-to-face support she received throughout lockdown whilst getting the free activities had helped keep the spirits up, and for this she will always be grateful.”


Delivering Covid-19 relief When the world came to a standstill, Big Hearts quickly adapted our traditional delivery model to safely address the immediate needs of our local community.

Despite the disruption to face-to-face activities, Big Hearts supported over 8,000 individuals in the first 12 months of the Covid-19 outbreak. Initially set up to reduce holiday hunger in South West Edinburgh, where the rate of child poverty is the highest in the city, our School’s Out! project became central to our Coronavirus response. In an unprecedented move, our charity decided to run School’s Out! over five consecutive months and then every school break, with deliveries of food and activities to pupils from low income families. Over 2,500 relief parcels have been distributed in 2020, thanks to the continued support from Cash for Kids, Tynecastle High School and the Community One Stop Shop. 6

Emergency response Our immediate response to the pandemic saw the launch of three dedicated helplines, where our charity provides confidential advice and guidance on support services available in the community. During the school closures, Big Hearts focused on emotional and practical relief for households facing acute hardship. Our distinguished Kinship Care programme and Youth Befriending project engaged with carers and young people on a weekly basis, whilst The Changing Room kept the conversation about mental health open, with virtual drop-ins available to supporters twice a week. Big Hearts Volunteers joined our efforts throughout 2020, with 36 helping from the safety of their home. Volunteers played a vital role in checking in on elderly Hearts fans, completing over 1,700 phone calls.

I miss volunteering at the Stadium, but it feels good to be able to assist older people remotely. A conversation over the phone shows that we care, it’s really appreciated.



"When spring came, it became obvious that over 65s would have to isolate at home for a wee while longer. The ‘Memories At Home’ project was brought to our attention and we registered some of our service users to receive these Big Hearts’ resources directly by post. The reminiscence postcards and articles started good old chats. Our beloved Bill, a 93-year-old from Craigmillar, recalled a game at Tynecastle Park many years ago. He’s a Rangers fan, but his good pal is a Jambo so he phoned him to chat about that day. He had forgotten all about it until he received the parcel from Big Hearts. Bill said one of the jokes had also kept his wife laughing all day, she couldn’t stop thinking about it! One of our beneficiaries is opening one envelope a day at breakfast. Elma dreaded every morning was the same, but now she has something to look forward to. Looking at the 1970 Commonwealth Games series in the Big Hearts Gazette took her right back: the opening ceremony was on her birthday and she got married and pregnant that year! Elma told us how she could remember exactly how she felt at that time and it was a lovely feeling - one of the best things she experienced this year.”



Leading the local recovery In the early stages of the Covid-19 outbreak Big Hearts has been recognised as ‘Community Anchor Organisation’ by the Scottish Government, to help coordinate the nation’s recovery efforts at a local level.

Early in 2020, our charity initiated a brand-new reminiscence project aimed at maintaining regular connections with older people who are isolated or shielding during the pandemic. Big Hearts’ Memories At Home parcels are dementia-friendly resources, including story-cards and a printed Gazette, which encourage over 65s to recall fond childhood and football memories from the comfort of their own homes.


Thanks to the Scottish Government’s Wellbeing Fund, which was established to support organisations providing vital services during the Coronavirus crisis, Big Hearts is now sending out over 400 reminiscence parcels every month across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Gorgie-Dalry Hub Opening a new chapter in our capacity to support local communities in South West Edinburgh, our charity has been administering financial aid towards the local Covid-19 recovery efforts. Big Hearts is the Scottish Government’s designated ‘Community Anchor’ for the local area around Tynecastle Park. As such, our charity acts as facilitating hub for local networks supporting the GorgieDalry communities most affected during the pandemic. Over the summer, we distributed £20,000 in crisis grants to 14 small grassroots projects providing wellbeing advice, digital access, life-long learning or outdoor activities.

The funding is part of the Scottish Government’s Supporting Communities Fund, via the National Lottery Community Fund.

Art in the Park was set up to bring art tuition to our local public spaces. The small grant from Big Hearts enabled Gorgie Collective to run free creative sessions for adults outdoors over the summer.



A YEAR LIKE Community resilience has been at the heart of Big Hearts’ activity over the past 14 months.



hours of befriending



23+ 12

family relief parcels

weeks of parenting advice

2800+ 4100 +

wellbeing drop-ins sessions

welfare phone calls

monthly reminiscence packs

E NO OTHER Strategic direction: Year 3 Our charity is working closely with expert agencies, funding partners, local schools and football supporters to create positive outcomes across the South West Edinburgh community. Over the first six months of the Coronavirus disruptions, we focused our activity on maintaining social connections with the most isolated as well as securing food and essentials for households in crisis. In 2021 Big Hearts is committed to going even further to tackle the issue of child poverty, one of the biggest challenges on our doorstep.

Review of financial position 2019-2020 The Trust is reliant on income from donations and activities. The income and expenditure for the year ended 31 March 2020 were:

Income from donations and activities: £341,830

Expenditure: £350,980

(2019: £259,953)

(2019: £331,461)

Our expenditure on charitable activities increased to £295,365 (2019: £280,421). Reserves held at 31 March 2020 amounted to £182,681 (2019: £191,831) and this is made up of unrestricted funds of £173,110 (2019: £190,414) and restricted funds of £9,571 (2019: £1,417). The move to reduce reserves was made as the Board agreed to hold between six and nine months of total annual expenditure in reserve.



"My job situation changed drastically. I found myself at home all week, with lots of free time to spare. I was already in touch with the team at Big Hearts so when I heard about the possibility to volunteer during lockdown I thought: yes I’m in! Looking back, it’s amazing how quickly the charity reacted to Covid-19. I think it was in April when I started to call people, mostly other Hearts fans in their eighties. I remember some were a bit anxious. I can’t imagine how they felt, living in a pandemic at their age! We chatted, had a laugh and the fact that I was phoning on behalf of Hearts offered them some kind of comfort. I’ve always volunteered, since high school. I’m in my late twenties now. I enjoy getting to speak with people and doing something special for them. For me, volunteering for my football club is helping my community! Being able to be at the Stadium before Christmas was great. Seeing hundreds of presents filling the room made me feel emotional. Pandemic or not, Christmas is definitely not cancelled thanks to Big Hearts! You know, it’s been a tough year for so many families, but all the kindness from the charity and the supporters gives me hope for the future.”


Promoting resilience Big Hearts Supporters have remained a driving force during the Coronavirus disruption, bringing the football community together to spread some kindness and offer valuable help where it is most needed.

With a 30% rise in new volunteers since March 2020, our charity is grateful to the dedicated individuals who decided to get involved for the first time and to those continuing to volunteer from home.

More than 85 new Big Hearts Supporters stepped up to help deliver our Covid-19 response work, gaining nation-wide recognition from the SPFL Trust and the More Than Football network. In 2020, Big Hearts strengthened the collaborative work with Heart of Midlothian FC to assist Social Bite in feeding Scotland’s most vulnerable. We gave our time and expertise to coordinate the volunteer efforts which produced an incredible 138,000 packed meals within the Club facilities at Tynecastle Park.


Beyond the game In May 2020, we created our first online charity challenge. The Cup Final Challenge takes inspiration from iconic Hearts’ Scottish Cup wins. Many joined in, keeping physically active during lockdown whilst raising over £2,400 towards our Covid-19 activity.

In December, over 120 volunteers got involved in our most ambitious festive programme to date: ‘Big Hearts Delivers Christmas’, which resulted in 300 precooked meals distributed directly to vulnerable people’s homes.

Remote opportunities and new free time on their hands enabled more football fans to actively volunteer with us. From retired Hearts fans to young adults and families with children, our diverse community of Big Hearts Supporters went above and beyond to help others at the most challenging times.

Whilst so many are struggling in these difficult times, running 98 kms in aid of the Club’s charity is an easy thing to do and a worthwhile cause to support.



“It all started when we were looking for a new charity partner for our Gorgie site, located at the back of Tynecastle Stadium. We had a chat with the team at Big Hearts and discovered how we shared our family values and ties with the local community – as a business we’ve been here for over 135 years! Addressing child poverty in Gorgie-Dalry is at the heart of our partnership. The charity is about 400 yards away from The North British Distillery, so we can see the kids playing across the community pitch. Being able to witness that is a strong motivation. We welcomed families to play on our bowling green, funded days out for local pupils and even had a corporate team taking on the Kiltwalk! Our colleagues loved contributing to the Gift Back Appeal, knowing that these children would otherwise not get any presents at Christmas. It felt good to donate a gift specifically chosen for the young persons. Receiving the Inspiring Partnership Award at the Edinburgh Business Ceremony is a credit to our combined efforts over the past two years and a testament to our amazing staff who raised over £17,000 and changed the lives of hundreds of people. We’re proud to continue this journey together throughout the Covid-19 crisis.”



Developing fundraising In the past year Big Hearts created additional ways to support our activity. Individual giving remains our charity’s main source of income.

With face-to-face fundraising on hold, Big Hearts is working on minimising the impact of Coronavirus. Our diverse community of supporters continues to play a vital role in the sustainability of our organisation. To date, our joint efforts with The North British Distillery have improved outcomes for 780 people. This unique private-third sector partnership received the Inspiring Partnership Award at the 2020 Edinburgh Chamber Ceremony.


In September, the Virtual Kiltwalk Weekend appealed to a new audience. Big Hearts Supporters completed the challenge by cycling in their garden or walking as a family. With £6,000 collected last year, the event remains at the top of our fundraising calendar in 2021.

Fans engagement Over the festive season, our Gift Back Appeal engaged with a wider variety of groups, to ensure disadvantaged children receive Christmas presents tailored to their age and needs. This second appeal generated 1,200 bespoke gifts purchased and donated by volunteers, first team players, Club staff and local businesses – three times more than the previous year. In 2020, our charity developed new income streams with the sale of our first charity Christmas card and a limited edition of a single malt whisky.

Our online raffle on Boxing Day sold 600 tickets in the first 24 hours – leading to over £14,000 raised within the six weeks before Hogmanay.

When I asked Big Hearts for help, I never in a lifetime expected these brilliant presents for my kids. Thanks so much to all the fans who have helped. Your generosity is appreciated.



People With Big Hearts Bank of Scotland Foundation Bill McLaren Foundation

Fresh Start Gary Anderson Electrical Go Beyond

BMC Social Club

Gorgie Collective

Change Grow Live

Gorgie Dalry Council

Children's Health Scotland

Health Agency

Citizens Advice Scotland Community One Stop Shop Co-Op Corra Foundation Dalry Primary School Diageo DPS Group Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce Edinburgh Children's Hospital Charity Edinburgh City Council Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations Council Electrify European Football for Development Network Foundation of Hearts Foundation Scotland

Health All Round Health in Mind Heart of Midlothian FC HighNet Telecoms Impact Funding Partners Investing in Volunteers Jambos Kickback John Lewis & Partners Edinburgh Lady of the Glen Whisky Merchants Ltd Lodge HMFC 832 Longstone Primary School M&S Chesser Avenue M&S Princes Street McClure Solicitors Menzies Movember Foundation

Multi-cultural Family Base Nancie Massey Charitable Trust

Scottish Football Supporters Association Scottish Government

National Lottery Community Fund

Scottish Professional Football League Trust


Scottish Water

NHS Lothian

Social Bite

North British Distillery

Space at Broomhouse Hub

Prospero Insurance Brokers Radio Forth Cash for Kids

Spirit of 2012 Sport Scotland

Real Maroon FC

Stenhouse Primary School

Robert Cowan Family

STV Appeal

RS Macdonald Charitable Trust

Tesco Edinburgh

Save the Children

Turning Point Scotland

Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society

Tynecastle High School

Scottish Association for Mental Health

Volunteer Edinburgh

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

Tiny Changes

Volunteer Scotland Whale Arts Who Cares? Scotland

Scottish Football Museum

William Grant Foundation

Scottish Football Partnership Trust

Yorkshire Building Society

A special commendation to our Big Hearts Trustees 2019/20: Andrew McKinlay, Ann Budge, Billy Watson, David Sellar QC, John Hume, Lawrence Broadie, Mariel Kaney, Pamela Scott and Tim Gardiner.



Big Hearts Community Trust Tynecastle Park, Edinburgh, EH11 2NL Community Helpline: 0131 603 4928 Office Landline: 0131 603 4926  @bighearts

 @bigheartscommunity

Scottish Charity 037311

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