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As part of the English Football League’s (EFL) official charity partnership with the British Red Cross, the Tigers Trust, the partnered charity of Hull City, took part in a new ticketing scheme for members of the community in a bid to help those facing loneliness and isolation. 
The pilot scheme will bring people together with other local fans to enjoy the nation’s favourite game to help reduce feelings of isolation that people may be experiencing and encourage new friendships and connections. 
It comes at a time when most people (84%) living in Yorkshire and the Humber believe loneliness is a problem in England, according to new research by the Red Cross. 
The new findings released by the charity show that over half (55%) of people in Yorkshire and the Humber are experiencing loneliness and more than 3 in 5 (65%) felt that loneliness would be a bigger problem during winter 2022 than in winter 2021. 
Over three quarters (76%) of those living in Yorkshire and the Humber worry that the cost of living is pushing more people into loneliness forcing well over a third (42%) of people in the region to restrict how much they socialised in winter 2022. 
Reza is a person currently seeking asylum, who recently benefitted from the ticketing scheme, and he said: “I live in a very small place and don’t have enough money to get out and about a lot. Going to the match was a beautiful experience. I love football and used to play in Iran before I came to the UK. One of the Hull City players is from Iran, so it was great to see him play. Cheering along with the rest of the crowd was wonderful and I’m sure being with so many people has helped build up my confidence. I’m so thankful.” 
Charis Priestley-Bird from the British Red Cross, an organisation that already supports over 100,000 people experiencing loneliness per year through its services across the country, said: “This ticketing initiative will provide a vital lifeline for many refugees and people seeking asylum that we support, who often arrive with nothing and feel desperately alone.” 
Social Inclusion Manager for the Tigers Trust, Kayleigh Jackson, said: “We’re committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of those living in our local community and are thrilled to be able to pilot this ticketing scheme with the EFL and Red Cross. We hope that it will provide life-changing opportunities to those who may be currently struggling with isolation and loneliness.” 
The day itself saw the group visit the Tigers Trust Arena, before heading to the MKM Stadium to watch Hull City's 0-0 draw with Rotherham United.  
Claire Hanson, a representative from Mears, said: "The guys absolutely loved it. They were really taken with Abdu. All the staff were great, Richard in particular, he helped the guys with the food vouchers and made sure those fasting were able to purchase things they could take away with them in their bags to eat when their fasting ended that night. They all got to fully engage with every aspect. It was great." 
The Red Cross is the EFL’s Official Charity Partner and will be combining their efforts to reduce isolation in communities around the country via the EFL and its 72 clubs. 
Trevor Birch, CEO of the EFL, said: “Through our partnership with the British Red Cross, we are using the unique appeal and reach of our Clubs to help reduce isolation and loneliness. Initiatives like the ticketing pilot launched at Hull City and the Tigers Trust have the ability to bring people together, to build connections within communities, and allow people to unite through the power of football.” 
Tagged as: Loneliness
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