How EitC Made A Difference In 2020

As we bring the curtain down on a year like no other, evertonfc.com looks back on the past 12 months of the Club's official charitable arm, Everton in the Community (EitC), from a royal appointment with the Duke of Cambridge to its work combating the coronavirus pandemic...

The year started with a bang for Everton in the Community with a royal visit, a special award for a volunteer, a First-Team duo visiting the Premier League Primary Stars scheme and a mental health awareness campaign all taking place within the month of January.

The first month of the year saw HRH The Duke of Cambridge visit the Club’s official charity to find out more about its innovative mental health programmes. During his visit to The People’s Hub, HRH met participants from Tackling the Blues, Stand Together and Everton Veterans’ Hub, and spoke at length with individuals about the impact EitC has had on their lives.


January also saw first-team stars Michael Keane and Anthony Gordon visit a local primary school to find out more about the Premier League Primary Stars programme, while long-serving EitC volunteer Heather Owens was officially presented with the 383 Dixie Dean Award in recognition of the number of hours she has donated to the charity through volunteering.

For Everton’s home game against Newcastle United in January, portraits of Blues players created by young children from EitC’s Tackling the Blues programme were shown on stadium screens to help raise awareness of the importance of positive mental health among young people. The drawings replaced the in-match player graphics and were also visible across Everton’s official matchday social media and website output, attracting acclaim from media and football fans both in the UK and overseas.

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01:05 Wed 29 Jan 2020

WATCH: THE STORY BEHIND USM'S BIG SCREEN TAKEOVER

Children's artwork displayed to 40,000 at Goodison Park as part of mental health campaign.


The month of January ended with the news that the charity had received the Suicide Awareness Business Mark, accrediting EitC with showing a commitment to suicide awareness.

EitC celebrated its 32nd birthday in February, with the Club’s home game against Crystal Palace dedicated to raising awareness of its official charity. The match had 11 junior mascots – one of which was young fundraiser Jackson, who was gifted a mascot place for raising more than £1,500 for the charity when he took part in the inaugural If You Know Your History 5K run in October 2019.

The month of February also saw USM Finch Farm play host to the annual EitC Showcase, where the entire First-Team squad and newly-appointed Blues manager Carlo Ancelotti spent the afternoon finding out more about a handful of the charity’s programmes and meeting the participants who have benefited from them. Ancelotti and his players signed a commitment pledge at the Showcase, reaffirming their ongoing support to raising awareness of the work of the Club’s charitable arm.

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05:08

CALVERT-LEWIN TAKES THE MIC FOR EITC SHOWCASE

Striker interviews teammates about charity's work... and grabs a Yerry Mina exclusive!


Fans were given the opportunity to etch themselves into the legacy of the charity’s proposed purpose-built mental health facility, The People’s Place, with the launch of ‘Spellow Brick Lane’ – a campaign giving supporters the chance to purchase limited edition personalised blue bricks that will form a commemorative walkway on the approach to the building on Spellow Lane.

It was announced in February that Willie Kirk’s Everton Women team were throwing their weight behind the annual Goodison Sleepout, signing up to take part in the event, which raises awareness of homelessness across the city while also raising funds for the charity’s Home Is Where The Heart Is project.

Stepping into Spring and March saw Everton duo Moise Kean and Joao Virginia join 140 primary school children at a Show Racism the Red Card educational event at Goodison Park.

Former Blues star Kenny Sansom, meanwhile, paid a visit to the charity’s Home Is Where The Heart Is house to find out more about how EitC is supporting young people at risk of homelessness.

The fourth Goodison Sleepout took place on Friday 6 March with more than 100 Evertonians joining the Everton Women team and backroom staff in sleeping in the stands of Goodison Park to raise money for those affected by homelessness.

March also saw Everton CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale and Director of Football Marcel Brands visit the new neonatal ward at Liverpool Women’s Hospital to find out how the charity’s Sit and Knit group has helped raise vital funds for the hospital.

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02:37

EVERTON WOMEN CAPTAIN TURNER'S GOODISON SLEEPOUT DIARY

Blues aces take on fundraising challenge.


On Friday 13 March, EitC took the precautionary measure to temporarily postpone all sessions and delivery of its programmes due to the impending threat of coronavirus.

The charity immediately put special measures in place to provide additional support for its participants and, less than one week later, EitC and Everton Football Club launched Blue Family, a coordinated outreach and engagement campaign to maintain contact with participants and fans and provide vital support and assistance to some of the most vulnerable, socially isolated and at-risk members of the community.

With the introduction of a dedicated Blue Family section of evertonfc.com and a referral form for those in need, the Blue Family initiative was instantly accessible for Evertonians and the general public.

People generously donated money and food to support the campaign, while new and existing partners supported Blue Family with the donation of food and toiletry parcels, home learning materials and baby supplies.

Everton staff, volunteers and players united in working together to support those in need. Their efforts included picking up the phone to make welfare calls to elderly Season Ticket Members and vulnerable participants. Players also recorded workout sessions and read bedtime stories for kids, while the Club's chefs and nutritionists provided healthy recipes for fans to make at home.

EitC’s Neighbourhood team continued to be on hand to support the 10,000+ residents living within the immediate vicinity of Goodison Park – one of the most socially deprived wards in England.

The team has provided housing and money management support as well as advice on benefits and Universal Credit, in addition to support for local refugees and asylum seekers through the charity’s ongoing relationship with British Red Cross.

EitC’s Youth Engagement team has continued to maintain contact with the young people on its programmes and increased its wrap-around support package including intense mentoring, bespoke support and necessities for its more vulnerable participants and families. The team has also prepared specific tools and resources to aid rising anxiety concerns and provide bereavement support.

The charity is also working to provide additional support for the families of its young participants, as well as ensuring appropriate assistance is in place for vulnerable families of its 60 partner schools across the Liverpool City Region.

As its delivery takes place in areas of mass deprivation across Liverpool City Region, EitC has increased its outreach work to provide further support to families who have been identified as a top priority and may be struggling due to loss of income.

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03:03 Fri 27 Mar 2020

EVERTON DONATES FOOD AS PART OF BLUE FAMILY CAMPAIGN

Support for vulnerable and isolated during coronavirus pandemic.


The month of March soon rolled into the month of April and, with the whole country still under lockdown restrictions, the need for Blue Family continued to grow.

The charity was able to further increase its outreach support thanks to funding secured from Steve Morgan Foundation and through forming a new relationship with Liverpool-based catering firm Relish, which committed to donating hundreds of pre-prepared meals each week to participants and Liverpool 4 residents in need.

April saw EitC and Edge Hill University’s Tackling the Blues programme receive a financial boost from The Office for Students and Research England to expand its delivery, while the charity further increased the wellbeing and arts opportunities for its participants by partnering with Tate Liverpool.

May was a big month for the charity’s People’s Place campaign as it received official planning permission from Liverpool City Council.

It also was announced that Phil Brown – lifelong Evertonian and executive producer of the Howard’s Way film, which tells the inside story of Howard Kendall’s glorious Everton team in the 1980s – had pledged to donate all proceeds from the documentary, including all monies raised to date, to The People’s Place. 

May also saw former Blues star and now EitC employee Pat van den Hauwe speak publicly about the support he has received from Everton in the Community and talk in depth about his work in supporting the charity’s older people programmes.

And to give everyone a boost from ongoing lockdown restrictions, Everton Football Club hosted its first ever online ‘Lockdown Sessions’ with music and interviews from recognisable Liverpool artists and Blues stars, with all funds raised during the night being channelled towards the charity’s Blue Family work.


As the country’s lockdown restrictions eased in July, the Blue Family campaign only strengthened.

A new befriending check-in call service called ‘Blue Buddies’ was launched to aid the wellbeing of existing participants and provide more tailored support to Blue Mile residents.

Elsewhere, a fundraiser literally rode around Britain in support of the charity, an Evertonian scooped £1,000 on EitC’s People’s Lottery, whilst the charity linked up with Appreciate Group to further its digital fundraising offering.

Another fantastic collaboration with LEGO Education and Creative Hut gave supporters the chance to nominate their little heroes during lockdown, with a competition awarding 16 young people with fantastic LEGO prizes, and who can forget when EitC’s NCS participants and Everton Academy players combined to lift the spirits of the elderly in care homes with personal letters, in a bid to tackle social isolation.


In August, attention turned to the charity’s second If You Know Your History 5k fun run.

Unlike its previous where 450 supporters gathered to run past the landmarks of Everton Football Club’s rich history in 2019, the run was hosted virtually, meaning Blues from across the world competed a 5k run, on their own, together, in aid of the People’s Place mental health project.

Another boost for the charity’s mental health programme saw its work supporting veterans and ex-veterans shortlisted in two categories for the forthcoming English Veterans Awards 2020.


A substantial donation from global retailer Mothercare PLC supported more than 1,000 families and individuals in need and a joint effort between EitC, Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation and Meals & More provided 1,000 healthy and nutritious meals to local children living in poverty.

Meanwhile, the charity’s education department fronted a week-long campaign to help GCSE school leavers find employment or training, and players from EitC’s disability teams launched the Everton and hummel 2020/21 third kit, fittingly on the programme’s 20th anniversary year.

The initiative will also see hummel fund a year-long education and training programme for 20 disabled participants who will join the stage one coaching programme.

Teenage snooker sensation and local lad Sean Maddocks fronted the charity’s logo on his waistcoat during the global Championship League competition in September, while Everton’s main partner, Cazoo, pledged their support to the Club’s official charitable arm by committing to donating £1,000 for every goal Everton score in the Premier League during the 2020/21 season. 

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03:31

MEET THE STARS OF EVERTON'S THIRD KIT LAUNCH

Blues disability players unveil 2020/21 seafoam and charcoal strip.


Elsewhere, from a ‘football therapy’ pilot project ran by EitC revealed evidence to suggest that the medium of football can be used as a therapeutic tool to support individuals with a mental health condition.

While Spirit of the Blues raced to the top of the iTunes singles charts in October, the charity marked World Mental Health Day with a new online health and wellbeing project aimed at supporting at-risk and vulnerable veterans during the coronavirus pandemic.

The annual Disability Awards, meanwhile, was hosted virtually, with the night celebrating Everton’s disability players and their achievements over the last 12 months.

It was also announced in October that EitC and the Steve Morgan Foundation would work together on a major £4million project to deliver early intervention programmes in Speke-Garston.

The month also saw the charity and its directors host a web conference to present its growth plans for the next year.


While the momentum continued for Everton on and off the pitch, supporters were able to purchase a limited-edition 7-inch vinyl single of Spirit of the Blues, with all proceeds channelled towards EitC.

One of many events to be postponed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic was Andre Gomes’ hugely-anticipated hug-a-thon earlier in the year. While it wasn’t quite the same as embracing the Portugal international like fans did in person in 2019, Gomes hosted a live and exclusive virtual Q&A for the supporters who bought hug-a-thon tickets.

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04:10

GOMES THANKS FANS FOR SUPPORT AND TALKS RONALDO AND BAINES

Midfielder puts on virtual event for supporters who missed out on planned Everton in the Community hug-a-thon.


EitC received £1.5million from Steve Morgan Foundation and the government’s Community Match Challenge initiative to further support the charity’s essential work in supporting the city’s most vulnerable people during – and post – COVID-19.

Elsewhere, a participant from the charity’s PL Inspires programme was recognised as part of the Premier League Charitable Fund 10-Year Anniversary Awards.

And at the North West Football Awards, EitC picked up more silverware as Everton won the 'Community Club of the Season - Premier League' prize, as well as the 'Best Club Marketing, Sponsorship or Engagement Campaign' for the #MoreThanEleven third kit launch back in August.

December saw the launch of a new-long term partnership with Causeway Technologies which, as well as pledging £200,000 to the build and development of The People’s Place, will also join forces with EitC to help bridge the widening education inequality gap for disadvantaged young people across Liverpool.

The partnership, spearheaded by Causeway Chief Executive and Executive Chairman Phil Brown – executive producer of Howard’s Way – also saw the firm appoint Everton legend Trevor Steven as the organisation’s mental health ambassador.  

December, of course, provides an opportunity for EitC to spread festive cheer to those less fortunate. It is also a pivotal time of the year for the charity to continue to deliver its support, with the events of this year only heightening the need of its services.

On 23 December, staff from the charity came together with volunteers from partner organisations to deliver 1,300 festive meals and gifts to those most in need this Christmas time.

Gifts and meals were donated by Appreciate Group, QVC, Santander and Liverpool Relish. A transporter vehicle and driver from Cazoo joined volunteers from Condy Lofthouse and Fans Supporting Foodbanks to help deliver them to L4 residents, EitC participants, Blue Family referrals and local community football teams, as well as homeless centres and care homes.

The majority of 2020 has seen the charity and its workforce focus its efforts on supporting the most vulnerable and combatting the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the community. 

Since its launch March 2020, Blue Family has:

•    Supported more than 26,450 vulnerable and at-risk families and individuals across Liverpool. 
•    Provided more than 24,200 check-in and welfare phone calls made by staff, players and Club Ambassadors. 
•    Received more than 3,600 referrals received for support and assistance through the Blue Family referral scheme and existing Everton in the Community participants.
•    Delivered more than 14,050 emergency food parcels and food vouchers.
•    Provided more than 250,000 meals to schoolchildren, participants and people in need across Liverpool.  
•    Provided more than 2,300 families supported with utilities, mobile phone credit and essential household items.
•    Handed out 400 laptops across the region to help close the education inequality gap and help them stay connected and engaged with learning.
•    Delivered COVID-19 testing kits to more than 400 households across Liverpool City Region.