The Big Society award to Everton in the Community recognises the charity’s numerous achievements, from providing a huge range of sporting opportunities to the people of Liverpool and wider Merseyside, to its successful health, education and employment projects.
Since its launch in 1988, Everton in the Community has helped more than 250 local unemployed people become ‘job ready’ through its ‘Everton 4 Employment’ scheme; established the ‘Imagine Your Goals’ mental health programme with Mersey Care NHS Trust; and runs the biggest football programme for people with disabilities of any club in the world, with 26 teams for all ages and abilities, more than 30 players representing their country at international level and 2 players representing ParalympicsGB at London 2012. The charity even made history last year, when it became the first associated to a Premier League football club to open a Free School: Everton Free School.
To help spread news of the fantastic work the charity undertakes every day, members of the Everton first team regularly attend programme visits to help raise awareness of the many programmes and offer encouragement to participants.
In recent years, the players have got involved in coaching sessions, acted as mentors to young people and ambassadors for important campaigns, attended award ceremonies and helped out with fundraising initiatives, including posing for a special female-focused charity calendar for Everton in the Community’s 25th anniversary.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
Everton in the Community gets staff, volunteers and players using their skills, expertise and profile to make life better for people in their local community.
They don’t stop at providing a huge number of ways for all ages and abilities to get involved in sport. Their pioneering health campaigns, job clubs and programmes to reduce reoffending are also making a difference for everyone involved. They’ve even opened the Everton Free School.
I’m delighted to be recognising the way the Blues are changing people’s lives through sport with this Big Society Award.
Dr Denise Barrett-Baxendale, Chief Executive Officer of Everton in the Community, said:
I am absolutely thrilled that the crucial, pioneering and life-changing work of Everton in the Community has been recognised and commended by the Prime Minister.
Every day the charity strives to make a difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable and underprivileged people on Merseyside, if not in the whole of UK, and seeing their successes is reward enough for my staff, so to receive such an accolade as a Big Society Award is absolutely sensational!
For the past quarter century, the charity has been at the forefront of social intervention across Merseyside, not afraid to tackle issues which others shied away from and will continue to do so for the next 25 years and beyond. To receive this award during our silver jubilee year is just fantastic and rounds off 12 months of wonderful achievement and celebration.
Notes to editors
Everton in the Community was established in 1988 in response to the many social and economic challenges facing the region, with the aim of engaging local people in positive and inspiring community-based activities. The iconic symbol of Everton Football Club gave hope to people whose futures seemed hopeless and it is this very philosophy that drives the charity to this day.
Since then the charity has grown to become world-renowned as a major force in pioneering and delivering a range of diverse community social intervention programmes to tackle the foremost issues facing the people of Merseyside.
The charity’s reach and depth is massive covering key social problems, including unemployment, crime, antisocial behaviour, health, disability, mental health and education.
For more information about Everton in the Community, visit evertonfc.com/community.