Leighton Baines met children at Alder Hey to mark the 10-year anniversary of Everton in the Community working with the world-class children’s hospital.
Back in 2007, the partnership between the Club’s official charity and Alder Hey hospital began with EitC coaches delivering one session every week. That has now grown to them being in the hospital five days a week from Monday to Friday, giving them the chance to build on relationships with not only the staff at Alder Hey but the patients and their families, making a real impact on lives as they go through difficult times.
To help celebrate the occasion, the Club organised visits with first-team star and Alder Hey patron Baines and two of our Club Ambassadors, Ian Snodin and Graham Stuart. During the visits they were able to see first-hand the work that Everton in the Community do in the hospital, putting on fun workshops for the young patients and playing different interactive games with them to help pass the time for them and their families.
Baines said: “It’s always nice to be able to come down and see the fantastic work done here on a daily basis. The relationships that the Everton in the Community staff have developed, not just with the other staff of the hospital, but with the children as well is really inspiring.
“It’s nice on a personal level that you can come in and contribute a little bit to that, too, but all the hard work and all the credit has to go to the people who are here, working tirelessly and giving up their time and energy to help improve other people’s situations and their lives.”
The Everton in the Community staff, on average, engage with around 100 children per month. Their time is not only used to interact and support the children who are either going through treatment or recovering from treatment but to provide some light relief to parents during their tough times.
Jessica Robinson, Patient Experience Support Officer at Alder Hey, said: “For the past two to three years since I’ve been here the Everton in the Community coaches have been amazing. They have such an impact on the patients and the workshops they do are something they really look forward to.”
Mark Dolan, Disability Development Coordinator at Everton in the Community, added: ”I can remember the first session we put on 10 years ago when we were just coming in with a bag of footballs and look how it’s developed from then when we were just running one session a week, then it was three and now it’s gone to five.
“We have great relationships with all of the staff here and all the play specialists we work closely with so we’re always developing the different things we can do to lend support, like getting involved in their events and continuing to provide things like this.
“Leighton Baines is obviously playing first-team football so a lot of the kids know who he is and it’s probably someone a lot of these kids look up to, even if they don’t support Everton, it’s just great for their social interaction as well. They’re made up just to play games with anyone who can come in and providing that is perfect for us and really helps us out.”