David Unsworth has revealed his plans to launch a fundraising campaign to support young people on the brink of homelessness across the city of Liverpool.
Following a freezing-cold Friday night sleeping in the stands at Goodison Park with his entire Under-23s squad and backroom staff to raise awareness of homelessness, Unsworth has spent time reflecting on the experience and is keen to make a long-term difference to the lives of people in Merseyside.
The Under-23s boss has worked alongside Everton in the Community Executive Chair Denise Barrett-Baxendale to look at how he and his squad of players can further support those most in need.
‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’ will see Unsworth and his team work throughout the season to reach a fundraising target of £230,000 to fund and develop a supported living initiative for young people in Liverpool, delivered by Everton in the Community. The funds raised will be used to purchase, and operate, a house close to Goodison Park which will offer 16 to 23-year-olds who have fallen on hard times, or have perhaps fallen out of the care system, a place to stay in Liverpool.
Aside from offering young adults a roof over their head in difficult times, the Club’s official charity will play a large part in their development by providing them with access to key services, including health and wellbeing support and assistance with education employment and training, as well as encouraging them to contribute to the local community through the NCS programme and volunteering.
Unsworth said: “Modern-day footballers are in an incredibly privileged position and are supported by their club with everything, including dietary and fitness support and psychological matters. ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’ will see us offer that same level of support to the most needy across Liverpool and draw upon all areas of expertise within Everton in the Community to ensure that those young people accessing the facility will be given tangible life skills to set them on the right path in life.
“The sleepout was a tough night and temperatures plummeted to minus four but we were all wrapped up with layers of clothing on. There are people out there doing this for real and that is the scary thing. That is why we are doing this - because we want to stop this. We want to give all those people on the streets of Liverpool a helping hand and get them off the streets and somewhere safe where they can get back on their feet again. Everybody should have a roof over their head and we are going to give our all to this campaign to ensure that we can help as many young people as possible.”
Executive Chair Barrett-Baxendale added: “To have David and his team come to me with such a fantastic proposal is wonderful and further enforces the values and ethos of Everton Football Club and our charity. David and his staff not only work tirelessly to nurture talented footballers for our first team but they also focus on producing well-rounded individuals who are good humble men.
“We want to operate this house in the heart of Everton and it is an extension of the work that the charity already does in supporting young people from all across the city with positive life choices and opportunities. This campaign will see us help young people who are perhaps on the cusp of following a path to destruction but offering this supported living facility will see us catch them before life becomes too difficult and help them get back on the right track. To have the opportunity to play for Everton is life changing, to live with Everton in the Community could be life saving.”
‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’ will see Unsworth, his backroom staff and his full cohort of players host a variety of events and activities throughout the season to reach the fundraising target of £230,000.
There are plenty of ways for you to get involved and support Unsy and his team with their fundraising efforts. You can click here to donate directly to the cause or alternatively, please complete the form below if you are able to support the campaign with items or services which could be used for developing the house or perhaps help a young person with their social development such as driving lessons or clothing for job interviews.