Everton Football Club will show its continued support for the British Armed Forces at Sunday’s match against West Ham United – our closest home fixture to Remembrance Sunday.
Representatives of the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and British Army will join Everton in the Community’s Knowsley Veterans’ Hub programme manager and veteran himself, David Curtis, in laying poppy wreaths on the centre circle ahead of a minute’s silence to remember the fallen in the lead up to kick off.
They will be joined by an actor dressed in World War I uniform to represent the youngest Liverpool Pal to lose his life at the Somme. James Alex Thomas was just 15 when he became one of 462 volunteer fighters to be killed on 30 July 1916.
During the tribute, the Armed Forces personnel will be joined by standard bearers and a bugler from the Royal British Legion, as well as 14 participants from the EitC Veterans' Hub programme, which supports veterans living in Merseyside with the adjustment back to civilian life.
To mark Remembrance Sunday, our players will also wear special poppy-embroidered shirts both this afternoon and for next weekend’s Premier League game at Chelsea.
Additionally, as part of its ongoing support for the Tickets For Troops initiative, the Club has donated tickets to servicemen and women for the forthcoming home fixtures against Swansea City and Bournemouth.
Established in 2009, Tickets for Troops provides free tickets to members of the Armed Forces for a variety of sporting, musical and cultural events. The service offers serving personnel and those medically discharged from the forces since 2001 the well-deserved opportunity to enjoy an event of their choice with their friends and family.
Supporting Veterans All Year Round
Sunday may be our remembrance fixture but Everton’s commitment to help local veterans is all-year-round.
Everton in the Community’s Knowsley Veterans Hub (KVH) project is a football and exercise-based programme that works to engage former military personnel who are at risk of isolation with sport, training and social activity.
Launched in February by Club captain Phil Jagielka, the programme is funded by The Royal British Legion and works to support approximately 150 ex-service personnel from the local area.
The programme is headed up by KVH Project Coordinator and veteran Dave Curtis, who uses his natural attributes and life experiences in the field to provide support to those who may not necessarily have the confidence to speak up and seek the help they require.
“I have the upmost respect for the guys at the Hub and the job they have done for their country,” said Jagielka. “It is fantastic that Everton in the Community is delivering a programme that can help to recreate that comradery they enjoyed in the forces with their colleagues whilst providing them with the support and tools that they need to move forwards in their lives.”
The programme builds on the success of Everton in the Community’s award-winning ‘Inside Right’ project and offers a range of engagement tools, support mechanisms and evidence-based behavioural change methods to improve the lives of veterans and their families.
As well as directly supporting veterans, the programme also benefits the local community with the participants improving their skills, finding employment, avoiding potential anti-social behaviour and reducing their likelihood of ill health.
Knowsley Veterans Hub openly welcomes veterans and their families to engage in the scheme, with available provision including one-to-one information sessions, advice and guidance sessions, weekly coffee mornings (offering an informal opportunity for participants to meet and socialise with others), invaluable referral links and signposting to ex-forces specific organisations, a wide range of physical activity sessions and access to a Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes ‘break time’ every Friday from 10am-12pm at Roby Community Hub in Huyton.
There are over 8,500 identified veterans across Knowsley and these figures are continually increasing, along with the levels of homelessness, unemployment and substance misuse. The programme allows participants to regain structure and routine in their lives, as well as providing tailored information and support for the Knowsley area.
For more information on Knowsley Veterans Hub, click here