Braving the cold weather, Everton Women brought their sleeping bags instead of their football boots to Goodison Park and over 130 supporters at the annual Goodison Sleepout.
The event raised over £23,000 for Everton in the Community on Friday 6th March, as it heads into its fourth successful year.
The annual Goodison Sleepout sees fans sleep out in the Sir Philip Carter Park Stand to raise vital funds for the charity’s ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’ programme that supports young people at risk of homelessness.
On a cold yet clear night in Liverpool 4 where temperatures dropped close to zero, supporters joined forces with members of the Everton Women squad and backroom staff to experience a different kind of night under the stars at Goodison in a bid to help combat homelessness in Merseyside.
Headed up by Everton Women Captain Danielle Turner, the players took refuge towards the back of the stand armed with sleeping bags and many layers and before lights went out at 11pm, they entertained themselves with quizzes and games and celebrated collectively upon learning they’d reached their fundraising goal!
Club Ambassador Ian Snodin also turned up to show his support to the 100+ strong group of fans who had all signed up for the Goodison Sleepout – many of which had taken part in previous years.
Since its first outing in 2016, the event has become a firm favourite in the charity’s fundraising calendar with Everton Under-23s Manager David Unsworth and his squad heading up the ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’ programme which raised more than £240,000 which was used to purchase and develop a five-bedroom residential house which is now in full operation and supports young people who are homelessness or at risk of being homelessness. Unsworth and his squad were again due to be in attendance for this year’s event but due to their progression in the Premier League Cup were no longer able to take part but sent their well wishes to all in attendance.
The 2020 Goodison Sleepout saw Everton Women and backroom staff take part for the first time, and speaking about the experience, defender Danielle Turner said: “Sleeping outside at Goodison has been an eye-opening experience and really drives home just how important programmes like ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’ really are. The temperature dropped as it got into the early hours and it makes you appreciate just how lucky we are to be able to go home afterwards and have a roof over our head. Some people don’t have that luxury and Everton in the Community is doing great work to support the young people in our city who are at risk of homelessness.”
Since the first edition of the sleepout in 2016, more than 600 fans have taken part and raised over £100,000 which is channeled towards the sustainability and development of ‘Home Is Where The Heart’.
Everton in the Community Director of Youth Engagement Sue Gregory said: “It’s been fantastic to see so many fans out at Goodison tonight and come together to raise funds for our Home Is Where The Heart Is programme. Our house supports young people who were potentially facing homelessness due to a variety of issues and our staff work with on a support plan that covers topics such as money, health, legal rights and life skills and when that young person is ready to move on, we offer outreach support to support them in the transition into their own tenancies.”
“Since August 2019, we have received over 30 referrals for young people and we were unable to place some of these individuals due to the house being at capacity which highlights the ever-growing need for this project and shows just how important the ongoing support of the fans, the Club, Everton Under-23s and Everton Women really is.”
You can still donate to the cause by visiting www.evertonfc.com/sleepout