He made 248 appearances and won a promotion with the club, but Adam Yates says working in the Port Vale community hub is putting all that into perspective.
The 36-year-old former defender is playing his part in a coordinated effort from Vale Park to help the north of the city during the coronavirus crisis.
Yates has a management role at the Hubb Foundation charity, founded by Vale owner Carol Shanahan who is also a trustee. The charity, along with Port Vale, the club’s community scheme and the Synectics Solutions and Summit Hospitality businesses also owned by Carol and Kevin Shanahan, have combined contacts, experience and resources.
Yates says he is happy to be able to play a part. He explained: “Football is a huge part of my life but it is only a part, whereas this is 24 hours a day, seven days a week and the support you give people is rewarding.
“It’s rewarding to make people happy on a football pitch with performances, or wins, or promotion, but this is life and death for some people. We want to try to support families who are in need of help, limit the amount of people leaving their homes and help limit the damage that is done.”
The community hub has already delivered hundreds of food and care packages since starting a little over a week ago.
Yates says they are learning all the time and also working closely with the city council.
He added: “We try to bridge gaps where we see them. So, we don’t want to emulate what someone else is doing in the area, but we look for the gaps and, hopefully, over the course of a few weeks, we can find those gaps and make sure everyone gets support irrespective of what that might be.
“We know there are a lot of families who are isolated because of the virus. For one reason or another, they might not be able to leave their homes, even to get shopping.
“That is something we want to try to help with, or with prescriptions, helping elderly people.
“We want to try to limit the amount of time that those most vulnerable to the virus are out of the house.
“The council have a structure set up to roll out across the city. We can help them with that and then bridge any gaps they might have missed.
“There are a lot of different types of people that need support. We want to make sure everybody gets through this together.”
Yates stresses that he’s just one part of a combined effort from staff and volunteers. He’s also thanked everyone who has donated towards the effort.
He said: “There have been a lot of people that have offered support and donations. We have extended the reach of each organisation by coming together, so that has benefited us. Also, we have seen an awful lot of companies, Vale fans, staff at all the organisations, and players, donating food parcels and money to go and support others.
“So, we can see we are having a huge impact on the community. We want to offer as much support as we can as safely as possible.”
Vale have a food donation point opposite the main reception at Vale Park.
Yates says, if individuals or businesses can support, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
He’s also highlighting the #StokeonTrentTogether initiative in which vulnerable residents needing help, and volunteers offering support, can turn to a dedicated website and phone line.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council has launched the service, teaming up with voluntary sector organisation VAST to help communities pull together in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
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