Twickenham rugby offers fans and NHS support in coronavirus crisis

By Emma Lindsay
April 13 2020, 21.00

The rugby community of Twickenham is getting behind efforts to support both the NHS and its army of fans.

Both the Rugby Football Union and Harlequins F.C. have been doing what they can to help fight the coronavirus and keep spirits up in the local community.

An initiative started by Wasps R.F.C. called ‘Make that Call’ has been adopted by Harlequins players to ensure their older fans are not left lonely in isolation.

Harlequins player Matt Symons said: “A lot of the lads are calling older fans who live on their own to keep in touch with them and check in on them.”

He added: “In the rugby community we’re very lucky to have a good level of access to players. There’s no gated community, we have a close relationship with our supporters.”

Mr Symons, 30, spoke about the importance of a team mentality in the current situation and the resilience needed to get through hard times.

He said: “It feels like when you’ve had a couple of losses and you start to doubt everything. Things will get back to normal. Sometimes you lose track of that, but we will get through it.”

On Thursday April 2 Harlequins Foundation announced it would be fundraising for the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to buy new equipment and pay for the creation of Health and Wellbeing hubs for frontline hospital staff.

As of lunchtime on Saturday April 4, the foundation had already raised £1000 for the cause.

In addition, Harlequins have been doing what they can through social media to keep their supporters fit and healthy as well as entertained.

The Quins wellbeing coach has been running lunchtime workout sessions through their Instagram page, as well as posting handy graphics giving people tips on working from home, and maintaining good mental health in this difficult period.

Quins player Mark Lambert has also launched the Quarantine Cup through social media, challenging Quins players and supporters to fun challenges they can do at home with the chance to win memorabilia.

On a larger scale, the RFU has been in talks with the NHS about how Twickenham Stadium could be of use to the NHS.

Feature image: David Rogers – RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images.

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