'Blue Nose Day Is Just The Beginning'

Sunday’s visit of Leicester City marks the first ever Blue Nose Day – but Denise Barrett-Baxendale insists the event is just the start of a host of events planned in the coming months.

The Premier League clash against the Foxes at Goodison Park culminates a week of celebration as Everton in the Community reaches its 27th anniversary.

And Barrett-Baxendale – the chief executive of the Club’s official charity – says there are no plans to slow down activity as the globally-renowned group continues to reach more people in Merseyside and beyond.

She said: “We’re in the community every day, 365 days a year from 9am to 10pm at night.

“This week we are doing extra showcase sessions and we are very clear that we want our community to have clarity about what we deliver.

“We have such a vast programme now - with 53 social programmes - in different parts of the community alongside the work we do at Goodison Park.

“We are having an awareness campaign this week, culminating in the birthday fixture this weekend.”

The extent of Everton in the Community’s reach means the club works with a vast array of people with a wide range of issues.

Five years ago, the Blues’ charity had 42 employees but now boasts 140 with more jobs to be created soon following the award of a major government grant.

An army of nearly 200 volunteers and between 55-60 community coaches help deliver the programmes but Everton’s deputy chief exec says this is no time to rest on their laurels.

“We’ll been announcing formally, in the next few weeks, a very large commissioning grant that we’ve secured directly from the government to work on an NCS programme and that will help young people in the city from the age of 14 up to, in some cases, people aged 24 on community activation programmes,” Barrett-Baxendale added.

“We also have a fantastic opportunity around May or June in what we are terming a ‘Super Community’ project at Everton.

“That will be Everton in the Community entering with some of those other organisations that represent Everton each and every day.

“For example, Everton Ladies, the Everton Collection, the Everton Former Players and Heritage Society, Everton Free Schools and bringing them all together and having that sense of unity across everyone who represents Everton.

Sunday’s game with Leicester will be Everton’s first Blue Nose day with the suggested donation of £2 going to EITC.

You can get your Blue Noses from Everton ONE, Everton TWO and the Park End Reception.

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