EVERTON first-team star Conor Coady made his Everton in the Community ‘debut’ recently and left the session hugely impressed after visiting the charity’s Premier League Kicks initiative at Halewood Academy in South Liverpool.
The Merseyside-born defender attended the secondary school to meet with staff from the Club’s official charity and joined Year 7 and Year 8 students in an outdoor coaching session as part of the Premier League-funded Kicks programme.
During his time at the school, Coady took part in some training drills and short-sided games of football before being put on the spot by the pupils with a Q&A session with questions ranging from ‘Messi or Ronaldo?’ and who is his best friend within the Club.
Everton in the Community has been delivering the PL Kicks programme for more than 15 years and brings fully qualified coaches from the charity into the communities of young people, many of whom are ‘hard to reach’ and use a range of activities – including sport – to engage them in familiar surroundings. The charity currently delivers more than 30 sports sessions across Merseyside each week for 8-19-year-olds and reduces anti-social behaviour and crime by 75% during session times.
Conor’s time at Halewood Academy was his first community visit with Everton in the Community since joining the Club last summer and he said:
“It’s important to come out and get involved in the charity’s programmes and see its work first-hand and also put some smiles on kids faces. I always enjoy visits like this and getting stuck in and I’ve really enjoyed my time with PL Kicks. It’s a great initiative and it’s really important that there’s something like this in place to support young people across the city.”
John Rawlinson, EitC PL Kicks Coordinator, added:
“Premier League Kicks is a programme to get children from different communities across the city engaged in sport whilst promoting positive messages. We use the sessions like this one today at Halewood Academy to engage children outside of school with the aim of feeding them into our evening sessions in the community to give them a safe and welcoming place to go to keep them off the streets.
“We use football as a tool to engage the young people but also offer other activities such as multi-sports and yoga sessions as well as inclusions session for children with autism and specific groups for males and females. In addition to that, we also offer workshops to tackle issues that young people may be facing such as gang culture, County Lines or knife crime to help raise awareness.
“It’s been amazing to have Conor here with us today because it gives the young people something to look forward to and creates a buzz and excitement around the session. We are very appreciative of him for giving up his time and throwing himself straight in!”
Everton in the Community’s delivery across Speke and Garston is made possible thanks to funding received from the Steve Morgan Foundation to deliver early intervention programmes aimed at tackling the barriers facing young people in attaining a good education and subsequent employment.
Established in 2001, Steve Morgan Foundation works to support projects that help children and families, people with physical or learning disabilities, the elderly, or those that are socially disadvantaged in North Wales, Merseyside and Cheshire.