Everton in the Community
Everton in the Community is one of the UK’s top sporting charities and is considered one of the Premier League’s leading community schemes due to the quality and reach of its programmes. Recently visited by The Duke of Cambridge to find out more about its work and how it uses its influence to support its fans and community and address key social issues affecting the local community, the Club’s official charity has been at the forefront of social intervention across the Liverpool City Region since 1988.
Everton in the Community delivers more than 40 programmes a year, specifically designed and developed to combat issues which are prevalent across Merseyside including mental health, employability, dementia, education, disability, poverty and homelessness. The charity is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of the local community and provides research-led delivery that tackles a range of public health challenges covering long-term conditions, mental illness and age-related conditions.
Awarded ‘Freedom of the City’ in 2018 for its commitment to the local community over the last 30 years, Everton in the Community provides life-changing and life-saving support to people of all ages, cultures and backgrounds and is open and inclusive to all.
How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?
Everton in the Community is focused on promoting positive mental health and suicide prevention. This work includes encouraging the local community to talk about mental health, end the stigma surrounding it and providing extensive evidence-led provision.
Everton in the Community was the first Premier League community arm to address mental health as a targeted development programme and in 2008, developed the ‘Imagine Your Goals’ programme to provide a series of activities for service users, enabling them to access football coaching sessions and education, volunteering and employment opportunities as well as compete in a local league and regional, national and European competitions. The success of the ‘Imagine Your Goals’ programme saw Everton in the Community develop a series of bespoke mental health programmes, supporting all members of society. Our charity has now been delivering award-winning, life-changing and life-saving mental health provision across Merseyside for more than 12 years, supporting more than 10,000 individuals with programmes for those in need. We currently support people suffering from social isolation, those living with dementia, veterans, primary school children identified as being at risk of developing issues as well as young men, over 55s and we also run a female only programme. Almost the entire ward of Everton falls into the most deprived five per cent of neighbourhoods nationally, and mental illness and suicide are more common in more significantly deprived inner-city areas such as Liverpool 4 where Goodison Park resides.
What are your current priorities?
Providing responsive provision to improve mental health and prevent suicide. Immediate support is being provided to people affected by covid-19 and the associated amplified risk factor for suicide.
A key focus is developing ‘The People’s Place’, which will be a purpose-built mental health hub to provide a comprehensive service to anyone regardless of age, location, gender or football allegiance. The People’s Place will be the first of its kinds facility attached to a football club providing mental health support to the local community.
What challenges are you currently facing?
Securing additional funding to expand our provision to ensure we can best meet the increased demand for mental health and suicide prevention support.