As Everton in the Community’s birthday fixture against Leicester City on Sunday draws nearer, Everton Ladies manager Andy Spence spent time at Archbishop Beck Catholic Sports College to celebrate the first anniversary of the charity’s Active Me programme.
Ran in partnership with the Liverpool Inclusive Sports Project, the project is a three-year initiative delivered by the Club’s charitable arm which aims to give disabled people the chance to participate in inclusive sport and physical activity opportunities.
Spence wasted little time in getting involved with those in attendance and showcased his football skills while also trying his hand at a game of tennis with some of the participants.
Speaking to evertontv after his time at Archbishop Beck, the Everton Ladies boss said: “These events are always brilliant for me on a personal level to help showcase what the Club and Community do. The participants are having such a good day, and it has been great to join in and help where I can.
“It is really inspiring to see lots of different people from lots of different backgrounds here today and it is fantastic that we come together and harness the feel-good factor of sport. It has not just been football today; there has been tennis, netball and various other activities.”
Also commenting on the benefits of Active Me, Everton in the Community’s Disability manager Steve Johnson added: “In the past there has been a lack of opportunity for disabled people, but Everton in the Community is very much about inclusion and showing what skills and abilities disabled people do have. It is important that people with disabilities are able to enjoy a healthy lifestyle as well as the opportunity to meet other people in similar positions and get involved in group activities.
“Today’s event is a celebration of all the hard work we have been doing over the year to get people active all over Merseyside, and it is great to see individuals like Andy (Spence) take such an active role in lending their support to the initiative.”
The National Lottery funded programme is supported financially by Liverpool Mutual Homes and Your Housing and is attempting to raise the statistic that only 22.6 per cent of people – around 3,200 – living in Liverpool with a limiting disability are involved in physical activity once a week.
The programme targets this sector of individuals to become interested in a sport that they can take part in for several years, including from athletics, dance, badminton and swimming.
A group of ‘activators’ provide one-on-one support to disabled people who are interested in accessing sport, as well as building confidence and being on hand to give participants advice to achieve their sporting potential.
Laurie Wilson, British Sign Language activator for Sign 4 Sport was quick to endorse the efforts of Everton in the Community, saying: “Active Me is going really well. From the day it started to where it is now the progression is excellent. The backing we receive from Everton in the Community is unbelievable and we are very grateful for their continued support.”
Everton in the Community uses the power of sport to engage with all members of society, regardless of age or ability. With one the largest and most respected Disability football programme in the world, the Club's official charity participates in a number of additional sports with a view to helping every individual who is under the guidance of Everton in the Community achieve their full potential.
With one the largest and most respected Disability football programme in the world, the Club's official charity participates in a number of additional sports with a view to helping every individual who is under the guidance of Everton in the Community achieve their full potential.
At the end of his time with the group, Everton Ladies boss Spence donned an Everton in the Community Blue Nose in support of the charity’s first ever Blue Nose Day at Goodison Park on Sunday. Noses are currently available to purchase now at Everton One and Everton Two for a suggested donation of just £2.
To view Tuesday’s edit at Archbishop Beck, click here.