More than 26,000 vulnerable families and individuals from across Liverpool have been given a vital lifeline during the Covid-19 pandemic, as part of Everton in the Community’s Blue Family campaign.
And the charity has today vowed to continue to provide this essential support for “…as long as it is needed!”
The official charity of Everton Football Club launched its Blue Family campaign in March to provide vital aid and assistance to struggling families in the wake of lockdown restrictions and increases in social isolation. This has included access to mental health services and emergency food parcels.
The project has been such a huge success and helped people who otherwise would have been left without food on the table, that charity officials have vowed it will now continue indefinitely.
The support of Blue Family is available to anyone living across the Liverpool City Region and, to date, the charity has received more than 3,490 referrals for support and assistance with the number increasing daily.
Since its launch, the campaign has provided more than 225,000 hot meals to schoolchildren and individuals and more than 2,250 families have received support with their utility bills, mobile phone credit and essential household items.
Charity staff, Club Ambassadors, players and backroom staff from Everton Football Club have all been involved and have made more than 23,500 check-in and welfare calls to those most in need.
Richard Kenyon, Everton in the Community CEO, said:
“This year has been incredibly challenging for our local communities, with many families facing life on the breadline for the first time, while others have struggled with their mental health and feelings of isolation.
“Blue Family was set up to give direct help to those who need it most – whether that is food being delivered to their door, help with paying essential bills or simply a voice on the other end of the phone. Our team, together with players at the Club, have been working tirelessly to reach out to local people in their time of need and we’re proud to have made such a positive difference to so many lives in a short space of time.
“But, it doesn’t stop there. As we approach the run up to Christmas – a time when feelings of loneliness and financial anxiety dramatically increase – it’s essential that our work continues and we are committed to providing support and assistance for as long as there is a need in our community.
“We know that there are many families who are worried about putting food on the table, heating their homes and keeping a roof over their heads – while we cannot wave a wand and make everything better, we can certainly make a difference and that’s we intend to continue doing.”
Funding for the programme kick-started with a £50,000 donation from Everton Football Club, while donations also flooded in from season ticket holders, hospitality lounge members, local partners, Club owner Farhad Moshiri and Chairman Bill Kenwright.
Everton in the Community also recently received £1.5million from the Steve Morgan Foundation and the Government’s Community Match Challenge initiative to further support the charity’s essential work.
Now, the funding will enable the charity to increase its essential services to vulnerable people through enhanced community support, with a specific spotlight on mental health and education.
Mr Kenyon added:
“Our match funding from the Steve Morgan Foundation will allow the charity to tackle the worsening education gap for young people across Liverpool City Region – which has further widened as a result of the pandemic – and will work to inspire and motivate young people to achieve attainment levels to access meaningful employment and wealth creation opportunities.
“The need for safe and effective mental health support has never been more essential, especially as we see the indirect and direct impacts of the pandemic, including an increased risk of suicide – a 30.5% year-on-year increase in suicides from March-August 2019 to 2020.
“We’re now looking forward to next year and are committed to continuing our work across the city to help improve lives – and futures.”