A participant from Everton in the Community’s PL Inspires programme has been recognised as part of the Premier League Charitable Fund 10-Year Anniversary Awards in recognition of the positive action and change he has had in his local community.
Peter went from having problems at school to engaging in Everton in the Community (EitC), volunteering at the charity's PL Kicks sessions and supporting a PL Primary Stars football tournament as a referee. The 16-year-old began attending after-school revision sessions and apologised to teachers who he had previously confronted. Peter has received no negative behaviour points since January.
The Premier League Charitable Fund (PLCF) was established in 2010 to distribute funding provided by the Premier League to professional football club community organisations across England and Wales, supporting them in their delivery of local outreach initiatives.
And as part of the celebratory activity, the PLCF 10-Year Anniversary Awards are taking place from 23-28 November as clubs recognise the achievements of people who have made a positive difference to others in their community over the past decade.
One of those individuals is Peter who first engaged with EitC in 2019 when he was a student at Litherland High School and was referred to its PL Inspires programme because of his poor behaviour, lack of commitment to school and his chaotic personal life at the time.
PL Inspires uses the appeal of football to help children and young people aged 11-25 to develop the personal skills and positive attitude to succeed in life. The education programme helps young people who are marginalised or at risk of not reaching their potential; supporting them as they move through the education system and early adulthood.
Peter was referred to PL Inspires by his teachers as a poor sleeping pattern meant he was struggling to concentrate in classes and receiving negative behaviour points, therefore becoming argumentative towards his teachers and stating he didn’t want to sit his exams.
Initially, the charity’s staff engaged Peter in some mentoring sessions, encouraging him to set SMART targets to improve his sleeping pattern and create a revision timetable. He then began working on reflective practices – looking at how his behaviour affects others as well as himself and explored different career options to raise aspirations.
Peter’s resilience during lockdown has encouraged him to attend an employability programme at EitC and he has since applied for an apprenticeship with a local painting and decorating firm and it is due to his commendable efforts and hard-work that EitC thought he a worthy winner of the PLCF 10-Year Anniversary ‘Premier League Inspires’ Award.
Peter, back row, third from left, with Everton captain Seamus Coleman during a PL Kicks session at Litherland High School
Reflecting on his achievement, Peter said: “I really enjoyed the mentoring sessions I had with Everton in the Community’s PL Inspires team. The staff helped me turn my behaviour around and gave me the motivation to succeed in my schoolwork. In recognition of the improvement in my behaviour, I was given the opportunity to watch an Everton match and even had the chance to meet Seamus Coleman; I would have never have gotten these rewards before and it made me want to work even harder.
“Everton in the Community still support me now; they helped me pass my CSCS card and with their help I am now applying for an apprenticeship. This year has been a big journey for me and I am a different person now – I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support from Everton in the Community.”
Everton in the Community Inspires Programme Manager, Carly Wheeler, added: “The PL Inspires programme is a unique initiative that allows us to tailor the support to the young person’s needs; it allows us to work holistically with participants and it was this approach that helped to maximise the impact that we were able to have on Peter’s development.
“It has been a privilege to be a part of Peter’s journey. It has taken a lot of hard work but his commitment to his personal growth has been inspiring. He now has a positive attitude towards his future, and I believe he is a well-deserved winner.”
The past decade has seen the PLCF provide assistance and investment to 110 professional football clubs across the Premier League, EFL and National League. More than 1.5 million people have benefited from the provision of inclusive programmes, which address important societal issues and improve lives and communities through sports participation, education, tournaments, events, social action and one-to-one support.
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said: “Football clubs play a vital role within their communities, engaging people of all ages to provide positive pathways, as well as supporting mental and physical wellbeing.
“This has been more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic, as clubs refocused their efforts to develop significant outreach programmes, including assistance for the most vulnerable members of society.
“The 10-year anniversary of the Premier League Charitable Fund is an opportunity to celebrate the significant impact clubs have made to their local communities.
“Congratulations to all the award winners, who are just some of the many inspiring people who participate and work on club community initiatives.”
A selection of PLCF 10-Year Anniversary Award winners’ stories from across Premier League and EFL clubs will be highlighted throughout the week. Visit www.premierleague.com for more information.