Everton in the Community (EitC) has recorded a successful year of development and growth as Sue Gregory celebrates her one-year anniversary as the charity’s Chief Executive Officer.
Sue has been with Everton in the Community since 2012, where she initially joined as a Programme Manager looking after the charity’s Safe Hands Young Offender programme. In 2015, she was promoted to Director of Youth Employability and Sports Development and during that time, implemented a development strategy and Community Impact Model which enabled her annual portfolio income to treble within three years. In July 2022, she was appointed CEO of the official charity of Everton Football Club and continues to lead its ever-evolving vision, embracing the many opportunities presented by the new Bramley Moore Dock stadium, the Goodison Park Legacy Project and much more.
Since Gregory took the helm of Everton Football Club’s independently governed and independently financed charitable arm, a number of new initiatives have been launched. This includes ‘Everton Cares’ a programme to support individuals with long-term health conditions, ‘Starting Well’ – a dedicated well-being programme to provide tailored support to new and expectant dads and ‘Stand By Her,’ which is a programme specifically aimed at supporting female veterans with the transition from life in the forces to civilian life.
Everton in the Community has also started to accept referrals for a children’s only mental health programme to support young people who are bereaved by suicide. The charity’s existing programmes have continued to grow and develop over the last year as well, made possible thanks to the ongoing support from the Steve Morgan Foundation, Premier League and Merseyside Police.
In the last 12 months, EitC has added to its Goodison Campus with the opening of the Liverpool City Region’s first community-based Digital Skills Lab – aimed at tackling the widening skills gap amongst young people. This initiative aims to equip residents in Merseyside with sought-after digital skills and inspire an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM) subjects and the charity also opened its doors to The People’s Place.
The purpose-built mental health and well-being hub is the first of its kind attached to a Premier League football club and houses the charity’s 15 mental health projects and delivers a variety of well-being activities each week. In June, EitC celebrated 12 months’ delivery of The Blue Base Pantry – another initiative that has evolved significantly, enhancing its offering to provide participants with a number of wraparound services.
The first 12 months of Gregory’s tenure has also seen her build a strong and widely respected Executive Leadership Team who will help to shape and guide the sustained growth of Everton in the Community as the charity heads into an exciting period of development.
Former Director of Health and Wellbeing Michael Salla has stepped up into the position of Deputy CEO whilst there were two internal appointments to the roles of Director of Youth and Support, and Director of Innovation and Strategy with Lara King and John McDonald being promoted respectively to join existing Director of Director of Finance, Governance and Assets Linda McMullen. There were also two new appointments to the charity’s Executive Leadership Team with Andrew Duff joining as Director of Income Generation and Dr Michael Finn taking up his position as Director of Lifelong Learning.
Under Gregory’s tenure, the charity has recorded a significant increase in its social value. It was announced in December that a recent independent report, authored by socio-economic specialists, RealWorth revealed that the work of EitC benefited the local economy by £64.3 million during the 2021/22 season – an increase of £8.7 million since the charity’s last social value review in 2019.
When it comes to awards, EitC won the ‘Community Club of the Year’ at the North West Football Awards, ‘Graduate Employer of the Year’ at Edge Hill University Career Awards and most recently, the ‘Premier League’s Best Football Community Scheme’ at the prestigious Football Business Awards. The charity also took home silver in the ‘Best Corporate Social Responsibility Scheme’ category at the Football Business Awards in recognition of its Blue Base Pantry project.
What’s more, the reputation of EitC continued to grow internationally over the past year, as a group of young people from the charity’s programmes represented England in the Street Child World Cup in Qatar last October. A team of NCS graduates and charity volunteers also travelled to Kenya in the Spring to take part in social action work at a village school in Nakuru, and EitC staff have represented the charity at conferences in France and Finland to share their best practices with international colleagues.
Reflecting on the first 12 months in her position as the charity’s CEO, Sue Gregory said:
“It’s an honour to be celebrating this milestone. I have seen this amazing charity grow and develop enormously over the last year during my time as CEO and whilst we’re so proud of how far we’ve come, we understand the importance of continuing to grow and evolve. I’m so excited for what lies ahead as we enter a new period of development, which will help us drive the charity forwards even further.
“We’ll have more of a visible presence in the community with a new infrastructure on the Goodison Campus, based on the Goodison Park Legacy opportunity – a £150 million community-led regeneration project which will bring a range of services and unique opportunities into our local community, unlike anything we’ve seen before.
“Our 50+ programmes will expand too, with us soon to launch new health screening programmes supporting those living with ADHD and anti-breathlessness as well as plans for a new men’s mental health programme and a targeted support package for young people at risk of exploitation or involved in criminality, where staff will develop and encourage them into positive diversionary activities to help them achieve their goals. We also look forward to duplicating the impact and success of the Steve Morgan Impact Model in other areas across the Liverpool City Region.
“We have always prided ourselves on being a charity that is there for its local community – when we see a need, we act – and that is why we’ve worked towards introducing a new strategy which will see us increase our support in key areas across the City Region for those who need it most. We’ll be launching this strategy after consultations with staff, key partners and our community.”