The Championships at Wimbledon are cancelled for this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the All England Club, which hosts the grass court Grand Slam, is contributing to a variety of organisations to support recovery from COVID-19.
We strongly believe that Wimbledon has the responsibility and the capacity to act as a force for good, using our resources to help those in need, particularly in a crisis such as this. Ian Hewitt, AELTC Chairman
On Tuesday, the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, the club announced it has already made donations worth about $1.5 million to emergency services and charities amid the crisis as well as contributing to the relief program to support players whose income is particularly affected by the virus outbreak.
“As we navigate a year without a Championships, our highest priority continues to be the health and wellbeing of all those who make Wimbledon happen and those for whom this pandemic has caused suffering and loss,” Ian Hewitt, AELTC Chairman, said.
“We strongly believe that Wimbledon has the responsibility and the capacity to act as a force for good, using our resources to help those in need, particularly in a crisis such as this.”
Using the collective strength of the Club, The Championships and the Wimbledon Foundation, and combining the use of the organisation’s facilities, resources and charitable giving, the AELTC will continue to develop additional ways to provide support for those on the front line of the response to the pandemic in the build-up to next year’s Championships.
This year’s Championships was cancelled on 1 April, the first time Wimbledon has been shelved since World War II, and the Club has since been developing four objectives of support, including being fair to those who make Wimbledon happen; assisting local, national and international communities; supporting the NHS and emergency services; and supporting Wimbledon fans.
Contributions have been to the international Player Relief Programme, created by the 7 governing bodies of world tennis, to provide support for those players whose income is particularly affected by the ongoing impact of the pandemic and St John Ambulance Emergency Appeal in recognition of the fact that 2020 would have been St John Ambulance’s 103rd Championships.
Continued support for AELTC and Championships employees as well as the partners and suppliers on whom the Club rely to stage The Championships together with refunds to all 2020 Championships ticket-holders, with the opportunity to purchase a corresponding ticket for the same day and court for The Championships 2021, complete Wimbledon’s current philanthropic package.
These contributions are alongside the significant measures introduced by the LTA, the sport’s national governing body, to support tennis across the UK through its multi-million pound COVID-19 support packages.
Support for society’s most vulnerable people through the creation of a £1.2m fund by the Wimbledon Foundation channels donations to local charities and organisations in Merton and Wandsworth, including Foodbanks, Age UK, Merton Giving Coronavirus Fund and the London Communities Coronavirus Appeal as well as Merton Winter Night Shelter, SPEAR, Glass Door Homeless Charity and the British Red Cross.
The Club has also opened a kitchen to deliver 200 daily hot meals for those in need in the local community over the next 3 months, which are being distributed by City Harvest, and has already provided over 1 million meals during lockdown to date.
While continuing to support Water Aid, donations of toiletries and left luggage items to local homelessness charities have been made and AELTC staff have volunteered to offer support within their local communities.
The Club has also contributed to the NHS Charities Together COVID-19 Urgent Appeal and St George’s Hospital Charity to support its COVID-19 response as well as donating toiletries and care bags to both St George’s and Kingston Hospitals, while gifting to the London Ambulance Service and Parkside Hospital in Wimbledon equipment no longer needed for The Championships, including face masks, PPE and tensa barriers, and access to parking and toilet facilities as a rest stop for local crews.
“We have worked hard to develop a wide-ranging series of measures to provide the help that we can to those in our local and regional communities who are most affected as we begin the period of recovery, which we recognise is going to continue to cause hardship for many for some time,” added Hewitt.
“We continue to be humbled by the passion shown for Wimbledon by fans all around the world since our cancellation announcement, and we look forward to a time when we will be able to come together again.”
The 134th Championships will be staged from 28 June to 11 July 2021.