This season, winning players at Cowdray Park Polo Club will see their prizes doing real good for the community, with the prize fund going to Midhurst Food Bank.
COVID-19 has had a major impact on everyone, the polo community included. The return of polo tournaments following the shut-down has been welcomed by players and clubs alike, but for many the effects of the pandemic have been devastating. Even in seemingly affluent rural communities the financial ramifications have been particularly hard felt.
Recognising that many in Midhurst are in need of support, Cowdray Park Polo Club wanted to do something to help. Lord and Lady Cowdray, with the full support of the Club committee, decided the money reserved to buy tournament prizes should be donated to the Midhurst Food Bank.
‘The town of Midhurst and Cowdray polo are inextricably linked and we felt strongly that if we could do anything to help, we should,’ says Jonathan Russell of Cowdray Estate. ‘We are delighted to have been able to get back to playing the sport we love, but at the same time can’t ignore the fact that many on our doorstep are facing real struggles.’
Since lockdown began the Midhurst Food Bank has seen a 30% increase in demand for their service and the team expect the situation to worsen as winter approaches. At the same time, distancing measures mean that the drop-in centre can’t open and volunteers have to make pre-arranged deliveries direct to people’s doors. Volunteers have to work in COVID bubbles and even face issue in arranging deliveries as many are scared to answer the phone in case it’s the debt collectors.
‘The team behind the Midhurst Food Bank is incredible,’ Russell continues. ‘We hope our donation will be able to give them some real support. The Food Bank is a lifeline in the area.’