Everton in the Community (EitC) welcomed Walton MP Dan Carden to Liverpool 4 last week to provide an update on the impact the charity is having on his constituency and beyond.
The Shadow Secretary of State for International Development was welcomed by the charity’s CEO, Richard Kenyon, and directors Sue Gregory and Mike Salla who were on hand to provide Mr Carden with insight into some of EitC’s recent achievements and give him the opportunity to see some of the programmes in action.
The visit got under way at The People’s Hub where the Walton MP was given a short tour around the facility, before speaking to participants from Everton in the Community’s 41 Goodison programme.
The scheme supports young people who have or are at risk of offending, are in care or leaving care and offers them a safe place to develop their skills and access education and employment opportunities.
Mr Carden was able to hear first-hand about how the charity has supported the participants, while he also asked for insights as to what they want from him as their local MP. Mr Carden then joined the youngsters in some smoothie-making!
The Walton MP then journeyed across to The Blue Base, where he had the opportunity to see the charity’s Stand Together programme in action. Funded by the Premier League, Stand Together aims to tackle social isolation among males and females aged 70+ living in Merseyside. It provides four days of bespoke activities each week, supporting almost 200 vulnerable older adults on a weekly basis.
Mr Carden joined the participants in a short session where they all shared memories from days gone by, before attendees had the chance to put their own questions to their local MP about his role in their community.
Mr Carden then met with Knowsley Veterans Hub Manager Dave Curtis to learn how EitC supported him on his transition from the army to civilian life. Dave also explained how, with the help of the charity, he has gone from being a participant to managing an EitC programme, drawing on his experiences to support other veterans.
Reflecting on his visit to EitC, Mr Carden said: “I’ve seen first-hand the work that Everton in the Community is doing in my constituency in Walton and across Merseyside. They are making sure people are supported - from young people to older people and everyone in between - people that need support that sometimes the local authority and the state isn’t able to provide, so obviously I welcome all of that.
“I think it’s really important we use the football club’s popularity in the area, its size and profile, to promote good work and charitable works throughout our communities.
"Everton in the Community is leading the way in doing that type of work in what are deprived areas in Liverpool, areas that really do need that support. It makes all the difference having the football badge there to encourage people to come and seek help when they need it."
EitC CEO Richard Kenyon added: “It’s really important that we have strong links with our local MP.
"When we were chatting, Dan was explaining people who come through his doors from his local constituency often talk to him about some of the challenges they are facing – we share issues within this community and I think there’s the opportunity going forwards for Dan to point more people in our direction.
"It’s very important we collaborate and make the most of the opportunities we’ve got together.”
Before the visit drew to a close, EitC CEO Richard Kenyon updated Mr Carden on the charity’s upcoming plans for ‘The People’s Place’, the mental health-focussed campaign which will form the latest part of the ‘Goodison Campus’ and provide a purpose-built mental health facility in the shadows of Goodison Park, providing support to anyone in need.
Offering his thoughts on The People’s Place, Mr Carden said: “Mental health is one of the biggest issues affecting all communities in our country, it’s becoming more and more prevalent including people in older age suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s.
"Any support that the football club can provide in that area will be more than welcome in this area of north Liverpool.”