Marco Silva says Everton’s commitment to helping its community “proves what everybody told me” about the Club and its charity work.
Manager Silva this week backed plans from Everton in the Community [EitC], the Blues’ official charity, to raise funds for a new mental health facility called 'The People's Place' in the shadows of Goodison Park.
The proposed new purpose-built facility, subject to planning permission, will be positioned within the Goodison campus adjacent to the £1.2million People’s Hub on Spellow Lane – just 500 metres from Goodison Park. A fundraising drive is set to be launched early in the 2018-19 season.
Everton in the Community has been delivering award-winning, life-changing and life-saving mental health provision across Merseyside for more than 10 years, supporting more than 5,000 individuals with bespoke programmes for those in need.
That has been part of the charity's dedication since 1988 to be at the forefront of social intervention across Merseyside.
When 'The People's Place' campaign was launched on Tuesday, Silva spoke of the “fantastic connection between the Club and our fans and all of the community”.
And talking to evertontv before taking charge of his first competitive match for Everton at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, Silva was keen to emphasise his backing for the new facility and the extent to which he has been impressed by the premium the Club places on driving life-changing initiatives in the city and its community.
He said: “The work the Club does is fantastic. It [The People’s Place] is a really important project for us as a Club and our community as well.
“For me it only proves what everybody told me from the first day I came.
“Everton is not only a big club, it is a family and everybody is welcome. We give great support to our community and as a coach I am here to support in any way I can – and [the same is true for] my technical staff, as well.
"It’s a fantastic project for us as a Club and the community. Since I came to Everton, everyone has shown me that it is not only a football club, it’s a family and everyone wants to help others. We are here to support the community and me and my staff will do everything we can to help this project."
The fundraising drive for 'The People's Place' will see Everton working alongside national mental health charity Chasing the Stigma at a time when the number of people seeking support for mental health-related issues is at an all-time high. The charities will work together to promote positive mental health and ending the stigma and discrimination surrounding it.
‘The People’s Place’ will provide an overarching service to anyone, regardless of age, gender or location, to promote positive mental health and support relating to suicide awareness and prevention. The range of the mental health services available will offer clear pathways into Everton in the Community’s programmes and external support all tailored to the individual.
Everton in the Community’s existing long-running mental health-focused programmes and services will continue to be delivered and developed during the fundraising campaign. A community consultation will take place to ensure that the new building meets the extensive needs and requirements of the local community and brings a significant impact to people’s lives through a diverse range of activities and services.
As part of the campaign Everton Football Club and Everton in the Community has also made a commitment to equip all its staff with an understanding of mental health through accredited training; educating them on mental health and how best to identify if someone is struggling with mental health issues and where and how to signpost them to support.
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