Everton and Everton in the Community have won five honours, including two Gold awards, at the prestigious 2021 Football Business Awards.
The first Gold award was for the Club’s immediate response to the Covid pandemic, with Everton FC and the Community team collecting the Best COVID-19 Community Response - Premier League, for the ‘Blue Family’ campaign.
The club also landed the main honour for Best Club Marketing Activation and Best Brand Activation Involving Football - Premier League for the ‘More Than Eleven’ 2020/21 kit launch.
The Football Business Awards, now in its ninth year, rewards and recognises the important role clubs and businesses play in enabling the game to be a success on and off the pitch.
The award-winning ‘Blue Family’ campaign saw Everton in the Community spring to the aid of more than 31,500 vulnerable and at-risk individuals and families across Liverpool last year, following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the UK and with the first national lockdown looming.
The speed with which both the Club and its official charity mobilised its coronavirus response to best meet the needs of its fans, participants, and the wider public, was hailed as leading the way in football.
More than 29,300 check-in and welfare phone calls were made by staff, players and Club Ambassadors, with more than 17,750 emergency food parcels and food vouchers delivered.
Over 7,000 referrals were received for support and assistance through the Blue Family referral scheme and existing Everton in the Community participants.
The scheme provided more than 295,000 meals to schoolchildren, participants and people in need across Liverpool and supported more than 3,800 families with utilities, mobile phone credit and essential household items.
Everton CEO, Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale, said: “We are honoured to receive the Best Covid-19 Community Response award in recognition of our Blue Family initiative.
“The campaign was initially launched as a temporary measure in response to the urgent need for help and support among some of society’s most vulnerable people but 18 months on, we have supported more than 31,500 individuals and families with emergency food supplies, welfare calls, household equipment and much more.
“This would not have been possible without everyone coming together and joining forces and our fans, partners and local businesses demonstrated real community spirit and generosity which has enabled us to deliver Blue Family on the scale that we have done.
“We are acutely aware that due to the pandemic, the inequality gap – especially in terms of education and mental health – is widening but Everton Football Club and Everton in the Community remain passionate and committed to continuing to help close this gap and enhance the lives of those in our community.”
Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale added: “I am also delighted that we have been awarded Gold in the Best Club Activation category for our 2020/21 ‘More Than Eleven’ kit launch, in collaboration with hummel.
“This campaign really highlighted what being part of the Everton Family means and showcased our commitment to embracing and embedding equality and diversity into everything that we do and brought our disability football programme and its participants to the forefront as they were the first ones to model the kit.
“I’d like to place my thanks on record to all staff and partners from across the Club and charity who have worked tirelessly on both initiatives over the last 12 months. Without them this success simply wouldn’t have been possible.”
The Football Business Awards also saw Everton win two silver awards, including a gong for Best Digital/Social Media Team, who played a central role in keeping fans around the world connected during the coronavirus pandemic.
The team delivered vital health, wellbeing, educational and feel-good resources for the community, from bedtime stories for young Blues, read by First-Team and Everton Women players, to workouts delivered by Club coaches, cooking videos from the Club’s executive chef, and even an international virtual music festival, Lockdown Sessions 2020. The team’s tailored content reached millions of people when they needed it most.
A silver award was also won by the club for Best New Player/Contract Signing/Reveal Campaign, for James Rodriguez, which saw the club accelerate its profile in South and North America and across the globe, following the arrival of the Colombia international from Spanish giants Real Madrid.
A focus on digital and social, supported by inspiring physical on-the-ground, news-making activations in South America, North America and Europe, amplified the announcement and galvanised Evertonians - old and new - to participate in meaningful and authentic engagement.
From lighting up Bogota’s tallest building in the Club’s royal blue colours and Rodriguez’s number 19 shirt number, to celebrating the playmaker’s capture on billboards in New York City and on Miami beach, the signing made waves across the world.
Finally, Everton in the Community won the bronze award for Best Corporate Social Responsibility Scheme in recognition of its ‘The People’s Place’ campaign, which will see the charity build and develop a permanent mental health facility in the shadows of Goodison Park. Granted planning permission in May 2020, The People’s Place will promote positive mental health and wellbeing and provide essential support relating to suicide awareness and prevention.
Everton in the Community was also shortlisted for Best Football Community Scheme.