Nuno Espirito Santo concerned over the long-term impact of coronavirus pandemic

PA

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo has expressed his concerns about the possible long-term impact of the coronavirus pandemic on society after donating £250,000 to the Feed Our Pack project.

The project, launched by the Wolves Foundation on Thursday, aims to help reduce the effects of food poverty and support residents of Wolverhampton who have been affected by the pandemic.

It has come about via a £250,000 grant from the Premier League PFA Community Fund and Nuno’s personal donation.

The scheme, which is to run for an initial three years, will support selected foodbanks in the city, with the aim of increasing the volume of food being distributed to meet increased demand caused by the pandemic, and provide a programme of food, sport and education to local children during school holidays.

When asked about the project at his pre-match press conference on Friday ahead of Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace, Nuno spoke of his desire to help people struggling amid the pandemic, and said: “What we face in front of us is a danger of segregation, by getting us really far from each other.”

And the Portuguese later added: “We are aware that everybody was caught by surprise when the pandemic came. But now I think the signs are not positive and I’m really concerned about that.

“I see division, I see political decisions that are closing borders – and I understand, it makes sense. But there’s a real danger through time that after, what kind of world are we going to live in?

“How is going to be our freedom? Are we going to get used to being so far away from each other that we cannot even touch and shake hands?

“All these things personally I’m very worried about – and this project is also an alert for that situation.

“We need to keep being close to each other, because we want to go back to normal – not to a new bad and awful normal, worse than we were before.”

Nuno, who has been Wolves boss since 2017, says he can “feel the struggle of the people” in the city.

“We are in a bubble but we are affected hugely by what’s happening,” the 47-year-old said.

“I go around Wolverhampton as many times as I can, and I feel the problems, the poverty. I feel the struggle of the people. For me it’s simple: I will try to help who is close to me, where I can really impact, and it is in the community.”

Wolves have said the project will require future financial support, with fundraising events planned when it is safe to do so, as well as opportunities for fans to get involved with food donations and volunteering.

And Nuno said: “It is not about only financial support – it is about getting engaged, getting volunteers.

“You don’t even know how many people on a daily basis are volunteering to distribute food, to make the bags, and transport. Behind the scenes, these are the true heroes of this moment. I am just one more.

“The main idea is to engage as many people as possible, inside of the club, outside in the community – people who feel, and it comes from the heart, to help each other. If you can, please do it.”

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