Last month I, along with two other writers of this fanzine, was lucky enough to be at a big swanky awards do in Leicester Square. This was the annual FSA Awards, and though they ushered us in via a side entrance less we get ideas above our station, it was still the sort of do that has table plans and a three course meal of immaculately laid out cuisine, and big screens that run you through the nominees.
We were there because we were shortlisted for Fanzine of the Year. We had a good time. But we didn’t win. Which I’m fine with. As my dad said in a text to me afterwards ‘Well, you don’t want to monopolise it’. I’m fine with it, because I still believe we’ve put out four brilliant fanzines in 2021. And I’m also fine with it, because winning awards is not what we’re about (you can insert your own joke about Rovers fortunes here).
popular STAND exists to make a difference. It was formed to make a difference at Doncaster Rovers; to give fans a proper voice against those intent to run the club into the ground. And it has maintained that ethic since. This fanzine is still an independent platform where fans can speak their mind. But 10 years ago, when I took over as editor, I decided to take that ‘make a difference’ ethos one step further and make us not-for-profit.
Initially we gave money away to football related causes, through player sponsorship and backing of campaigns – something we still do through our sponsorship of Nadia Khan – but it soon became apparent that the need for financial support in our town was greater in our community than it was in our football club. To be frank, in professional football the money we can raise as a £1 fanzine makes all the impact of chucking a deckchair off the Titanic, but for volunteer-led charities it goes much, much further.
That’s why this Christmas, as with past years, we’re making a sizeable donation to local charities and community groups making a real difference in our town. We’re giving away £2,000. As with previous years we’ve split this amount between five local charities and community groups to try and make its impact as widely felt as possible. The five are all groups local to Doncaster, supporting Doncastrian people, who perhaps ordinarily might struggle to bring in donations.
That we’re able to donate such a figure is only possible because of you and your continued generosity. All subscriptions – whether you’ve paid the minimum we asked, or chucked in a few extra pounds (or in some cases a lot of extra pounds) – all articles submitted, all the times you’ve encouraged friends or family to read, it all helps to build these funds. And to raise such an amount without raising our base price from the £1 we started charging back in 1998, or compromising our integrity with advertising, is a really remarkable achievement, that I’m incredibly thankful for.
As ever I’m really delighted to be in a position that we can offer some help and support vital local organisations in our town, whilst also being saddened and angered that in 2021 there is a continued need for us to do so.
But enough from me, here’s the important things. The local groups we’re supporting this Christmas and what they do.
Open Minds (Counselling)
Mental Health is a cause something that is close to the heart of a number of popular STAND’s regular contributors. A charity and social enterprise, Open Minds is a counselling service which offers support to adults, and young people. Their clients are often among the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in Doncaster.
Phoenix WoMen’s Aid
Phoenix WoMen’s Aid exists to support women, children, young people and male victims or survivors of Domestic Violence or Human Rights Abuses across Doncaster. Their comprehensive services include advice, counselling, and advocacy, and they have already helped more than 600 people throughout the borough.
Real Help Doncaster
Everyone has the right to a safe home, but in England it’s estimated that around 200,000 people are currently experiencing homelessness. Real Help Doncaster is a local fund that helps homeless and vulnerable people off the street and into a healthier and safer lifestyle.
The lockdowns of the last couple of years have given most of us a greater appreciation of what it is to be isolated. But for many older people in our community, that sense of isolation doesn’t end when restrictions are lifted. b:Friend is aimed at supporting older people who may have become isolated from the wider community by partnering them with volunteer ‘befrienders’.
Every year in the UK, hundreds of thousands of people experience some form of rape or sexual abuse. Doncaster Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling Service (DRASACS) aim to help people in the Doncaster area who have suffered from these experiences. If you are a survivor of rape and sexual abuse – whether recent or historic – they are here to support you.
Many thanks to all of you for your continued support of popular STAND fanzine, Merry Christmas and all the best for 2022.