We here at The Liverpool Offside are very proud of a club whose anthem of You’ll Never Walk Alone extends beyond mere words and into a very intentional ethic for the club. Digging deep into the roots of the community as a working class town that rises and fights together,Liverpool Football Club has always prided itself in being a reflection of that Merseyside spirit. And starting from the legendary days of Shankly continuing on down to the present incarnation of the club under Klopp, that tradition of common service and unified work live on.
One of the best examples of that tradition is in Liverpool FC’s Red Neighbour program which we have covered in bits and pieces over the past year or so. This program is once more focused on serving the community and acts as the charitable outreach wing of the club. They had previously sought to focus on 4 areas of need in Merseyside: food and poverty education, support for the elderly, encouraging physical health and activity, and youth outreach.
In keeping with this mission, the Red Neighbour team were joined by Margaret Aspinall, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group and mother of James Aspinall, when they visited the Royal Liverpool Hospital. The group toured the facility and greeted patients with gifts and, more importantly, their presence. Providing that kind of outreach helps to prevent the feeling of isolation among those that find themselves in hospital for extended stays.
As they toured the facility - with Ol’ Big Ears in tow, apparently! - they ran into a member of Liverpool-based pop group Atomic Kitten, Natasha Hamilton, who had been on her own visits in the hospital. Together, they linked up and did rounds among the patients, no doubt bringing smiles and joy to people in need.
It is no small thing, no dismissible act, for the people who receive such kindness. And I am reminded often by stories like this that we are so very capable of impacting our communities even in ways that are small. This does not mean that we take our eyes away from those grand visions at systemic change that we all dream of. But it does mean that even in fights for justice or in remaking the world into one that is more compassionate that will necessarily take time and, often, sap us of our energy, we can always do things that are immediate and needed and worthwhile.
Hope is a faith in things unseen. But hope cannot be made manifest without action. Let us all find some small inspiration in the club doing right by its community and turn to our own neighborhoods and neighbors, roll up our sleeves, and start building that more just world now.