Everton in the Community has helped to pioneer a series of programmes to specifically tackle mental health issues among different groups within the local community.
Working with Mersey Care NHS Trust from 2007, the Club’s official charity collaborated with the leading organisation in the provision of mental health care, addiction services and learning disability care to deliver a series of programmes across the North West which reach out to so many individuals in so many ways.
In 2008 the partnership introduced Imagine Your Goals, a ground-breaking fitness programme that also offers local people who are living with mental health issues an opportunity to talk about their problems and seek help and support in a familiar environment.
The collaboration with Mersey Care enabled Everton to become the first Premier League club in the country to appoint a full-time mental health football co-ordinator and has seen other Premier League clubs adopt the programme and use it as a model of best practice.
The success of Imagine Your Goals has seen the charity establish Merseyside’s first ever mental health football league and the programme has been recognised on a national stage and picked up a number of prestigious awards including Best Football Community Scheme at the North West Football Awards, Football Business Awards, Stadium Business Awards, National Sports Industry Award and the National Tony Adams Award for ‘Positive Mental Health’.
The successes achieved through the Imagine Your Goals programme has seen the Everton in the Community’s Health and Wellbeing team develop five additional mental health programmes in partnership with Mersey Care, supporting individuals experiencing dementia, unemployment and isolation.
In 2019, EitC joined forces with the Blues' Principal Partner, SportPesa, in a partnership that saw them become an Official Partner of the Club’s charitable arm.
It has led to SportPesa providing funding for the Imagine Your Goals programme which, since April 2018, has been funded internally using finite charity resources after being affected by external NHS budget cuts.
SportPesa also provides further financial support to EitC's mental health provision via the creation of ‘Goals That Give,’ which sees the firm donate £1,000 for every Everton goal scored at Goodison Park for the entire length of the partnership, dating back to the start of the 2018/19 season.
Everton in the Community’s work around mental health has led to the charity being invited to London amongst a selected group of guests for the Government’s flagship speech about mental health delivered by former DPM Nick Clegg announcing the launch of a new action plan as well as invitations down to Whitehall to meet with former Minister for Care and Support Norman Lamb to advise him on the impact of our work around mental health.
For more information call Johnnie Garside, Mental Health Football Coordinator, on 0151 530 5263.