Everton in the Community Chief Executive Officer and Deputy Chief Executive of Everton Football Club, Dr Denise Barrett-Baxendale, has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, being awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for “services to the Merseyside community”.
The 2014 list is published today to recognise the achievements and service of extraordinary people right across the United Kingdom. The honours system pays tribute to those people who have made achievements in public life and/or committed themselves to serving and helping their country.
Dr Denise Barrett-Baxendale accepted the position of Chief Executive Officer for Everton in the Community (EITC) in January 2010, bringing with her a wealth of experience from across all phases in the education sector.
Since her appointment, the official charity of Everton Football Club has received a plethora of local, national and international award wins in recognition of the life-changing work it undertakes on a daily basis and, in 2013, was awarded a Big Society Award by Prime Minister David Cameron. The high-profile award recognises the charity’s numerous achievements, from providing a huge range of sporting opportunities to the people of Liverpool and wider Merseyside, to its successful health, education, disability and employment projects.
During Denise’s tenure EITC has been successful in gaining new and significant funding to help the most hard-to-reach groups of people in the city region realise their potential and take full advantage of the life-changing opportunities the charity has to offer.
In the past two years alone, the charity has secured almost £1million from the Big Lottery Fund to deliver a programme to help young offenders integrate back into society and also gained approval from the Department for Education to open Everton Free School – the first charity affiliated to a Premier League club to open a Free School.
More recently, Everton in the Community secured £4.5million worth of government and business investment to deliver a flagship traineeship programme which offers young people from across the region access to qualifications and employment.
Denise was appointed Chief Operating Officer of Everton Football Club in October 2011 and promoted to Deputy Chief Executive in June 2013. Her Club position sees her working to improve the matchday experience for supporters and raising standards and performance across the Club.
After being awarded an MBE, Denise revealed: “I am absolutely overwhelmed and truly humbled to have received this recognition. I owe this to the inspirational community leaders and delivery staff that I have had the privilege to work with in the last 15 years in our city. This is a tribute not just to me personally, but also to all the staff here at Everton in the Community, our fantastic partners and our amazing participants. They are the people who truly inspire me and my team on a daily basis.
“I would like to thank Everton Football Club for providing me with the opportunity, support and courage to innovate each and every day in my role. I am particularly grateful to the Board of Directors, Robert Elstone and the Board of Trustees for affording me the opportunity to lead at Everton in the Community, a phenomenal charity with extraordinary staff, which has served as a fantastic canvas for our pioneering and progressive vision for social change.
“When Everton approached me for the role of CEO within Everton in the Community, it was the perfect match. Working for the Club my family love and supporting some of the most vulnerable members of our community has given me and my staff the platform to build something sustainable that really is making a difference to the lives of so many across Merseyside.”
Chairman of Everton Football Club, Bill Kenwright, said on hearing the news: “From the moment Denise stepped into Goodison Park she has brought an energy, a vibrancy, and a work ethic that few have ever bettered. Our extraordinary success as the country’s leading “Football Club in the Community” is hugely down to her skill and her relentless enthusiasm - attributes she has continued to display magnificently as she has climbed the Everton ladder to her current position as Deputy CEO.
“I can think of few people who are more worthy of the acclaim that Denise is currently, and quite correctly, receiving. As I often say to fans, and shareholders meetings, she is our “Little Miss Dynamite” - and we adore her.”
Sir John Jones, Chairman of the board of Everton in the Community trustees, added: “I was delighted to hear of Denise’s honour, which is so truly deserved. In the 15 years that I have known her, I have watched her work tirelessly and passionately with others to help enhance the lives of so many. Her enthusiasm is infectious, her work rate unbelievable and her commitment total. The notion of community service is embedded in her DNA.
“I know she will be the first to acknowledge the debt she owes to all those with whom she has been privileged to work and to whom she will want to pass on the credit for this award, from the schools she has served and the numerous individuals and groups she has supported, to the fantastic team she has helped build at Everton in the Community. She is and will continue to be a great source of inspiration to all those fortunate enough to know and work with her.
“Her honour is brilliant news not only for her and her family but for the whole community."
Born and raised in Liverpool, Denise resides in South Liverpool with her husband and two children. Since graduating from university in Manchester, she has held various positions in education, including those at University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, Manchester Business School, the University of Chester and a role as Chief Executive of The Fiveways Trust, the first collaborative educational trust in Liverpool.