Peterborough United stars hope foodbank collections will go viral as they call on fellow footballers to follow their example

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Peterborough United have joined with Marks and Spencer to collect food and drink for the city’s food banks - and they are now calling on other clubs to follow suit.

The initiative is been taken on by the Posh squad and co-owners and is being spearheaded by first team coach Aaron Mclean.

The former striker, who spent a hugely successful spell at the club as a player before re-joining last season as part of Darren Ferguson’s first team staff, came up with the idea alongside Angela Blanchett, an employee at the Serpentine Green M&S store and mother of friend and former team-mate Daniel Blanchett.

Aaron is hoping that through the power of social media he can encourage other footballers to help raise funds in the dressing room to help purchase food and drink for food banks up and down the country to give back to those that need help within those communities.

“There is a lot of talk about the negative side of social media. I wanted to see how we can use it as a force of change,” he said.

“Footballers are in a privileged position, even in the lower leagues - we get paid to do a job that we love and it can be rewarding. Every football club in the EFL (English Football League and the 20 teams in the Premier League are at the heart of their community.

Posh players and staff with M&S staff at the Serpentine Green store. Photo: Joe Dent

Posh players and staff with M&S staff at the Serpentine Green store. Photo: Joe Dent

“Angela works at the Marks and Spencer food hall in Serpentine Green in Peterborough and we were having a chat about how footballers could get involved. Her son Daniel used to play for the club and we are good mates now. It has snowballed a little from there.

“I spoke to the squad and they were all willing to contribute financially and the owners have also helped so we are now in a position to make that conversation a reality.”

Aaron will challenge other footballers, in a similar vein to the Ice Bucket Challenge which was a huge success in 2014 in uniting people for a cause, via Twitter, tagging them in and encouraging them to help finance a similar project with their local store and food bank.

“I really hope that it takes off like the Ice Bucket Challenge did. Hopefully footballers will see that they can make a massive impact in the city they play to help improve the lives of people that really rely on the food banks,” Aaron added.

Aaron Mclean (right) with M&S Serpentine Green Peterborough store manager Adam Thomson. Photo: Joe Dent

Aaron Mclean (right) with M&S Serpentine Green Peterborough store manager Adam Thomson. Photo: Joe Dent

On Thursday Aaron, alongside Posh stars Marcus Maddison, George Boyd, Ivan Toney and Mo Eisa, purchased the food and drink in the store before helping to deliver the goods to the Food Bank Warehouse in Fengate where it will be ready to distribute.

Adam Thomson, store manager at M&S Serpentine Green Peterborough, said: “As a team of Peterborough United Football Club fans we were delighted to have the players in-store to help us support Peterborough Foodbank. Through the event at M&S Serpentine Green, we hope to make a real difference within the local community.”

Juliet Welch, foodbank manager, said: “It was great to see the players from Posh really getting involved to help support their local food bank. It is sad that we have seen a 50 per cent increase in people accessing our food bank, and as we rely totally on donated food the support from the players is very much appreciated and hopefully will raise support from other football clubs to their local food banks.”

To donate food or drink to the foodbank, and for more information, visit: https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/find-a-foodbank/peterborough/.

Marcus Maddison picking out items for the foodbank. Photo: Joe Dent

Marcus Maddison picking out items for the foodbank. Photo: Joe Dent