FOR the last four weeks, Everton Football Club and Everton in the Community staff have been providing vital support and assistance for thousands of individuals and families in need across Liverpool in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic through its Blue Family initiative.
Delivered collaboratively by the Blues and its official charity, Blue Family is a coordinated outreach and engagement campaign to maintain contact with fans and participants as well as provide tailored and focused support, assistance and guidance to some of the most vulnerable, socially isolated and at-risk members of our community during these uncertain times.
The first month of the campaign has seen Club and charity staff reach out to fans, participants and members of the community in greatest need with more than 1,750 check-in phone calls being made by staff, players and Club Ambassadors. In contrast, a referral service for access to Everton in the Community’s support provision has received almost 400 applications for support and assistance for individuals ranging in age from 18-years-old to 98.
Everton in the Community staff have delivered more than 850 emergency food parcels and distributed emergency foodbank vouchers to individuals and families living across Liverpool in addition to purchasing and providing medical prescriptions for the elderly as well as medicines for a terminally ill child.
In addition to purchasing emergency food and hygiene parcels and medical prescriptions, money raised through Blue Family donations has been used to purchase gas and electricity vouchers as well as supporting other initiatives and charities across the city including North Liverpool Foodbanks, Fans Supporting Foodbanks, Liverpool 6 Community Centre.
The money raised to date is being distributed widely to support other projects across Liverpool as well as providing bespoke support for individuals who have been referred to Everton in the Community and/or Liverpool City Council and has so far helped to fund food vouchers for local children living in poverty who have lost access to free school meals, essential kitchen equipment, providing meals for the homeless, housing support and helping to fund items such as TVs and radios for people who are self-isolating alone.
Increased communications output on the Club and charity’s email, social media and web platforms including engaging content for those in isolation has reached more than 24,500,000 individuals as Blues all around the world have been tuning into exercise and mindfulness sessions, cookery demonstrations, bedtime stories and home-learning educational resources that have been compiled by first-team stars and training staff across the Club and Everton in the Community.
The Blue Family initiative has also provided emergency support to Liverpool City Council’s referral scheme with the donation and delivery of 100 food parcels which were distributed to those in need across Liverpool City Region.
Everton in the Community CEO Richard Kenyon said:
“We are fully committed to doing everything we can to maintain and extend our presence in the community during this very challenging period. The first month of our Blue Family initiative has seen us step up our year-round community provision to provide essential support and assistance to more than 3,000 individuals across our city who have found themselves in need or wanting a friendly voice to talk to during these difficult times. We expect these numbers to grow over the coming weeks, and we are continually evolving our outreach to ensure that we can provide the best possible support we can to as many people as possible.
“I would like to thank our inspirational community staff who have wholeheartedly thrown themselves into our Blue Family campaign and also our supporters who have donated so generously and all the companies who have stepped up to partner with to enable us to order to support those in need at this time.”
Everton in the Community’s Neighbourhood team continue 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 – and 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.
The last 18 months have seen Everton in the Community’s Youth Engagement team support 1,500 young people who are at risk of social isolation, domestic violence and criminal exploitation. These issues become more prevalent during the current climate as there is rising concern around for these individuals as they become more and more isolated. The charity’s support team are maintaining contact with the young people on its programmes. They have increased its wrap-around support package including intense mentoring, bespoke support and necessities for its more vulnerable participants and families as well as preparing tools and resources to support rising anxiety concerns and possible bereavement support that might be needed now and in the future.
Everton in the Community’s Youth Engagement team is also working to provide additional support for the families of its young participants as well as ensuring that the appropriate support and assistance is in place for vulnerable families of its 60 partner schools across the Liverpool City Region. As all of the charity’s delivery takes place in areas of mass deprivation across Liverpool City Region, Everton in the Community will be increasing 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.
During April, a local farm is donating £2,500 worth of produce each week to the Blue Family campaign. This donation will be delivered directly to North Liverpool Foodbanks by catering supplier Brake Food. It will be used to build emergency food parcels for local families in need as well as supporting Everton in the Community participants and vulnerable, elderly and at-risk individuals through the Blue Family outreach work.
Award-winning social enterprise Community Shop has also committed to donating 100 emergency food parcels each week for Everton in the Community to distribute to those most in need during the coronavirus pandemic. Packed with essential items such as pasta, rice, cereal, tinned items and UHT milk, the social enterprise is also currently working with the charity to explore additional ways to support local families living in poverty with donated food supplies targeted at children.
In the approach to Easter weekend, Community Shop also donated 500 Easter eggs to Blue Family which Everton in the Community staff personally hand-delivered to participants from its PL Kicks programme to engage with families and check-in with them during this difficult time. Eggs were also donated to Huyton Hey Manor Care Home to help lift residents’ spirits as well as being donated to those living in the Blue Mile.
Thanks to the support from local businesses, the charity has also been able to deliver food and hygiene bags full of essential items including nappies, baby wipes and baby milk to vulnerable, isolated and homeless individuals as well as elderly residents and new mums living in the Blue Mile whilst a generous donation of £1,000 from Access Point UK have been utilised to purchase microwaves for local families living in poverty who lack basic cooking equipment and before receiving a microwave through the Blue Family campaign, their child’s only hot meal each day came from their free school meals entitlement.
Residents living across Liverpool 4 also saw their streets given an injection of colour when Aintree Racecourse kindly donated 40 hanging baskets to the Club’s official charity. The bright and colourful hanging baskets were initially intended for use during The Randox Health Grand National 2020.
To give your support to Blue Family visit www.evertonfc.com/bluefamily