Everton legend Duncan Ferguson has donated a Sunshine Coach for the use of hundreds of Everton in the Community participants.
The donation from Everton’s first-team coach comes from funds from his testimonial year and Variety, the Children’s Charity.
The Goodison favourite was on hand at Finch Farm with the Executive Chair of Everton in the Community, Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale, Executive Director of Everton in the Community, Phil Duffy, members of his testimonial committee and representatives from Variety to welcome a group of local schoolchildren, who were using the brand-new minibus for the first time.
The minibus will be used specifically by participants under the age of 18, providing transportation for a number of the charities’ programmes and projects including the disability sports sessions, life-skills workshops, education programmes and training schemes which can operate from 8am until 10pm, potentially up to seven days a week.
During their time at Finch Farm, Duncan and Denise took the time to sit down with the children in one of the Academy classrooms at the state-of-the-art facility as Everton in the Community coaches led workshops helping with their communication and teamwork.
After the visit, Duncan spoke about the donation and said: “I can’t thank the Everton fans enough and the help of the testimonial committee for what they’ve done, donating all of this money that’s allowed us to do this, it makes me a proud Evertonian.
“The bus is going to be a brilliant for the local community and it’s fantastic that we can help in getting these young people out and about, allowing them to see different parts of the city. Hopefully this bus will give children the chance to attend sessions and events that they may not have been able to previously.
“I look forward to seeing it on the streets of Merseyside and learning about all of the people it will benefit.”
Everton in the Community participants often find it extremely difficult to access public transport and, unfortunately, a lack of transport is one of the most significant reasons that prevents these young people from accessing sport and physical activity, as well as various educational opportunities. The Sunshine Coach will help hundreds of children throughout Merseyside who face barriers such as these.
Established in 1949, Variety was one of the UK’s first charities to be founded especially for children and young people, and aims to improve those lives by providing practical help and memorable childhood experiences.
Charlie Diakou, the Vice Chairman of the Merseyside committee, said: “We cannot thank enough Duncan Ferguson and everyone who supported Duncan in his testimonial year to make this happen for Everton in the Community. Variety is very proud to see another Sunshine Coach on the roads and with that bringing so many children so many more smiles.”