Tom Davies joins Everton in the Community participants to design new mental health mural.
The artwork, created in partnership with Merseyrail, will be displayed at Kirkdale Train Station later this year in a bid to promote positive mental health amidst an increase in suicide rates at the station.
The Blues midfielder headed to Zap Graffiti in Liverpool City Centre to meet the young people and offer his own insight into mental wellbeing, as well as overseeing some of the creative decisions and putting his unique stamp on the designs.
Davies also heard from participants about their personal journeys and how the project has had a positive effect on their mental health, as well as how they, in turn, aim to help others in the community.
Tom Davies said:
“It’s always great to get out in the community and meet the young people from our charity’s programmes.
“Mental health is such an important issue, and this is a fantastic initiative which allows these young people to use art as way to explore and express their feelings creatively – and hopefully spread a positive message to people in the wider community.
“Hearing the participants’ stories and having the opportunity to help create this unique piece of art for the local community has been really inspiring and I can’t wait to see the finished product.”
Everton in the Community’s Premier League Kicks programme is delivered in community settings across Merseyside, using relatable themes such as football – or in this case, creative art – to engage young people to promote key messages and inspire positive life changes.
The artwork sessions are delivered through the charity’s Premier League Kicks Targeted programme, which forms part of the wider Kicks provision and targets young people ‘at-risk’ from factors including criminal exploitation, anti-social behaviour, poor mental health, or low aspirations.
Participants in these sessions are aged 13 to 14 and currently studying at Everton Free School, which provides alternative learning provision for young people who have previously struggled in mainstream schools.
The weekly programme, which will run until Christmas, sees the young people working alongside a local graffiti artist to develop their art skills and with Everton in the Community staff to explore examples of positive mental health.
After bringing their ideas to life, the participants will create their final mural on boards at Zap Graffiti’s city centre studios which will then be transported to Kirkdale Station and placed on display to passengers.
Andrew Foster, Kicks Lead Youth Worker at Everton in the Community, said:
“Through this initiative, we aim to empower our young people and provide them with the confidence to continue making positive change in their lives.
“Encouraging our participants to think about their own mental and physical wellbeing and providing a creative outlet for their thoughts and feelings has proved to be a real success so far, and we’re excited to see how their work progresses over the coming weeks.
“It’s also been brilliant to have Tom Davies here today as such a positive role model and to offer his contribution towards the final designs.
“Having their artwork on display at Kirkdale Station will be an extremely proud moment for the young people and we hope it will help to inspire others and promote the importance of positive mental health throughout our community.”
James Smith, Acting HR Director at Merseyrail, said:
“As part of our commitment to supporting the communities that we serve, we are proud to be partnering with Everton in the Community on this fantastic initiative.
“It’s a challenging time for many in our communities and we understand the pressures on mental health that this can bring. We have worked hard with our own staff to ensure that they are well supported and recently we signed the innovative Railway Mental Health Charter showing our absolute commitment to this.
“We have seen the devastating impact mental health challenges can have on individuals and their loved ones and we hope this mural will send a strong message of hope and support to our passengers and local people.”
For more information on Everton in the Community, visit Everton in the Community