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Everton in the Community has seen out its silver jubilee year in style and celebrated turning another year older with the announcement that they have achieved their £1million fundraising target.

The Club’s official charity revealed its ambitious target – set almost one year ago to the day – had been achieved during half-time of Everton’s fixture with Aston Villa.  

For the past year, Everton in the Community had been asking the capacity of Goodison Park, 40,000 supporters, to each raise just £25 to help achieve its £1million target.

To raise this amount, the charity undertook a high-intensity, high-profile fundraising campaign, working with Everton Football Club, its partners and, of course, its fans.  

Initiatives included the launch of the Premier League’s first ever female-focused calendar, ’12 Shades of Blue’, which raised over £32,000.

There was a day of dedicated 25th anniversary activity for the league meeting with Aston Villa on 2 February 2013 and Everton’s number 25 from last season, Marouane Fellaini, turned his famous afro silver to raise over £25,000 for the charity.

Everton in the Community has been overwhelmed by the kindness and support it has received during the campaign, not just from Evertonians, but from football fans, individuals, grant funders and companies across the region, all wanting to back the magnificent work it delivers.

Ahead of Saturday’s game, supporters were treated to a host of activities to commemorate Everton in the Community turning 26.

Live entertainment, interviews with former players, music from Jennifer Jewell and Brazilian Samba drumming-band Batala, face painting and a live auction took place in the Fan Zone, while the official matchday programme featured a commemorative pull-out celebrating highlights from the 25th anniversary campaign, detailing how the money was raised, the difference it will make and how fans can still get involved with the charity.

To further thank fans for their support, Everton in the Community staff were on hand to give out limited edition, special commemorative pin badges, emblazoned with a message of thanks.

But it was the half-time ceremony which was most eagerly anticipated. Everton in the Community Chief Executive Officer, Denise Barrett-Baxendale, accompanied by cruiserweight boxer and fanatical Evertonian Tony Bellew, graced the Goodison turf to hit the totalizer-button revealing the mission was well and truly accomplished.

“Our silver jubilee campaign has been a roaring success and full of lots of joy and achievement,” said Denise. “My message merely echoes that of the whole of Everton in the Community; thank you to everybody for supporting our campaign.

“When we set ourselves the ambitious target of raising £1million, many people may have thought it would be out of reach but here at Everton in the Community we have a strong and proud history of obtaining our goals.

“I would like to thank every supporter who has contributed to the success of the campaign along with all the staff, participants and volunteers who helped make this possible.

“The charity remains hugely ambitious for its future and shows no signs of slowing down. We enter 2014 with significant aspirations to create a community campus close to Goodison Park to house all of our programmes and expand and enrich the opportunities provided to local people by reaching out even further to those who require support.”

In recent years, the charity has helped more than 250 local unemployed people become ‘job ready’ through its ‘Everton 4 Employment’ scheme; established the ‘Imagine Your Goals' mental health programme with Mersey Care NHS Trust; and runs the biggest football programme for people with disabilities of any club in the world, with 26 teams for all ages and abilities, more than 30 players representing their country at international level and two players representing ParalympicsGB at London 2012.

The charity even made history when it became the first associated to a Premier League football club to open a Free School, ‘Everton Free School’.

In 2013, Everton in the Community also picked up an impressive 19 international, national and regional awards in recognition for their ground-breaking work including a Big Society Award from Prime Minister David Cameron. The Prime Minister praised Everton in the Community for using their skills, expertise and profile to make life better for people in local communities.

For more information on Everton in the Community, click here

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