In November 2018, Everton in the Community was awarded funding from the Home Office Early Intervention Fund to prevent serious violence, tackle gang culture and protect young people from exploitation.
The ‘Merseyside Youth Alliance’ project, which the Club’s official charity will lead on, will be delivered in partnership with LFC Foundation, The Prince’s Trust and the Shrewsbury House Youth Club.
The Alliance was awarded £700,000 from the Home Office following a bid put forward and endorsed by the region’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Jane Kennedy.
The funding will enable Everton in the Community to further develop its current early intervention programmes targeting young people aged eight to 19 across Merseyside, particularly focussing on areas such as south Sefton, north and central Liverpool, Huyton and Toxteth.
Everton in the Community’s Youth Engagement arm harnesses the energy, enthusiasm and commitment of a wide range of young people, empowering them to effect positive social change and engages some of the most challenging and hard-to-reach groups across Merseyside.
The charity has been working within the spectrum of the youth justice system for over 10 years and provides both early intervention programmes and rehabilitation support. Its programmes raise awareness around significant issues in the city but also offer young people a solution and a choice to change their situation.
EitC currently engages with more than 5000 young people each year, providing the charity with a platform to raise awareness and implement early intervention programmes that are delivered via its education, community and employment models. Through these programmes, EitC works hard to keep children in education, provide positive community activities and create pathways into future employment.
The Merseyside Youth Alliance project will aim to identify and gain the trust of young people and involve them in voluntary activities at schools, youth clubs and centres and, through outreach work, help them to understand and move away from potentially dangerous and criminal situations.
Richard Kenyon, Chief Executive Officer of Everton in the Community, said: “We have been working alongside Merseyside Police for over 10 years, delivering early intervention and crime reduction programmes across our city with the main aim of combatting youth crime. Our work has had a great impact across Merseyside and helped us to change, and save, lives.
"This new collaborative partnership will enable us to work with the LFC Foundation, The Prince’s Trust and the Shrewsbury House Youth Club as we all combine our experience and expertise to help, protect and support young people at risk of exploitation.”
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said, “Reaching young people before they are targeted by more sophisticated individuals who draw them into a dangerous, criminal lifestyle is essential if we are to break the cycle of gang-related violence in our communities.
“Being awarded this money from the Home Office Early Intervention Fund means we can work in the most troubled communities to target the young people most at risk of harm, building their confidence, equipping them with new skills and encouraging them to strive for a brighter future.
“This project can have a huge impact transforming the lives of hundreds of potentially vulnerable young people, but also have far-reaching benefits for their families, schools and the wider community. If we can reduce the number of young people entering gangs and becoming involved in serious violence, it will improve lives across our region.”
The Merseyside Youth Alliance will recruit specialist school workers and youth workers who will develop key relationships, support schools in target areas and be able to mentor students confidentially.
‘Speak Up’ campaigns will also be introduced within schools to encourage young people to share any concerns they have in relation to gang culture or violent crime, while teachers and staff will receive training to identify those at high-risk of becoming involved in gang activity.
Watch the videos on this page or here
to see how Everton’s youth intervention work has already helped thousands of children and teenagers across Merseyside.