Everton in the Community has officially opened the doors to The People’s Place, the first purpose-built mental health and wellbeing hub attached to a Premier League football club.
The People’s Place was declared open by Evertonian and Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, as part of a ceremony attended by a variety of stakeholders who have all played a part in helping to shape the building ready for community use.
Made possible thanks to significant contributions from the Steve Morgan Foundation, the Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation, Causeway Technologies and its founder Phil Brown, the multi-million-pound facility will offer a first-of-its-kind service delivered by a football club’s community foundation.
The building, located just 500 metres away from Goodison Park, will house the charity’s 15 mental health projects and provide wellbeing activities alongside educational and employment support, using virtual reality, immersive experiences and artificial intelligence to complement delivery. The People’s Place will also offer a layer of professional care from health and wellbeing practitioners, GPs and mental health professionals.
Funds for the capital build were also raised by a wide variety of fundraising activity including a gala dinner, a Ravin’ Fit dance session with Jordan Pickford, a hug-a-thon with Andre Gomes, the Spellow Brick Lane commemorative walkway and The Speed Cycle, where a group of cyclists biked around the late Gary Speed’s former clubs in his memory.
Everton in the Community has been delivering award-winning, life-changing and life-saving mental health provision across Merseyside for more than 15 years and The People’s Place, situated on Spellow Lane, will form the latest part of the charity’s Goodison Campus. Research shows that poor mental health and suicide are more common in more significantly deprived inner-city areas such as Liverpool 4 where Goodison Park resides.
The past 10 years has seen Everton in the Community – along with partners – invest more than £13million in the physical regeneration of the area, changing the face of the landscape around Goodison Park, transforming derelict sites into thriving destinations.
Alongside The People’s Place, the Goodison Campus boasts The People’s Hub and The Blue Base – which have both also previously been supported by Football Foundation investment – as well as Everton Free School and the Cruyff Court.
The addition of The People’s Place will see the charity continue to help transform lives by providing access to mental health support to all, regardless of age, gender or football allegiances.
Michael Salla, Deputy CEO for Everton in the Community, said: “It’s a very proud moment for our charity to open the People’s Place, which will provide a range of evidence-based activities to improve mental health and wellbeing. The whole community stands to benefit from this hub through improved wellbeing, skills and access to high-quality, health care in a community setting.”
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “As a proud Evertonian and a big advocate of mental health support, it was an honour and a privilege to be invited to officially open The People’s Place. This is a much-needed facility in the heart of a community that needs it most. It will enable Everton in the Community to continue to grow and develop its well-earned reputation in delivering high-quality mental health provision as well as providing access to key clinical services in L4."
Liam Eaglestone, CEO of the Steve Morgan Foundation, said: “The Steve Morgan Foundation is very proud to partner with EitC which has a wonderful track record, over many decades, of making a sustained and positive difference to the people and communities within the Liverpool area, and beyond.
"We are delighted to have been able to contribute funds towards the construction of the new People’s Place building on the Goodison Campus. This wonderful new facility will enable EitC to give more people more access to a broad range of activities and specialist support to enhance every area of health and wellbeing. The Steve Morgan Foundation is committed to working with great partners like EitC with the shared vision of changing lives for good.”
Robert Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “We are delighted that The People’s Place is now open to the public after receiving Football Foundation investment.
“Good quality facilities support the health of local people and communities, which is why we’re investing in projects like this across the country with funding provided by the Premier League, The FA, Government and Sport England.”
Phil Brown, Chief Executive of Causeway, said: “As a lifelong Evertonian, I know how important Everton in the Community’s work is and what a difference it makes. I’m delighted to see the People’s Place now open its doors to the public and provide this vital expansion of the charity’s support and services across Merseyside.
“Mental health is a topic close to our hearts at Causeway as the construction industry that we serve struggles more than most with mental health issues, with research showing that male site workers are three times more likely to commit suicide than the average male in the UK. Our ambition is for every club to follow Everton in the Community’s lead by using the power of the badge to shine a light on mental health and to remove any stigma”.
As well as a wide array of clinical and non-clinical services, The People’s Place will also provide a unique cardio-respiratory place-based diagnostic hub thanks to funding received from AstraZeneca. The hub will aim to streamline and coordinate care to achieve early diagnosis and early treatment for non-acute breathlessness in a community care setting for patients either self-referring from the local community or from primary care.
World-leading research carried out by Edge Hill University has underpinned the development of The People’s Place and the University’s research team will continue to assess the hub’s impact on personalised mental health care. This unique place-based partnership approach with Everton in the Community, and the use of programmes like Tackling the Blues, promises to form part of the blueprint for future effective community mental health and wellbeing services.
Everton in the Community would also like to place its thanks on record to Everton Football Club Partner Socios.com, the leading fan engagement and rewards platform, for its significant contribution towards the running costs of The People’s Place. Through its community and social impact initiative, Socios Supports, Socios.com made the donation which has been used to purchase furniture, TV screens and sport and physical activity equipment for the building as well as fund a digital mental health support offering and a dedicated staff member who will coordinate provision, impact, and innovation.