Footballers are often given a hard time over the huge sums they earn. But as The Big Issue’s new partnership with Southampton FC goes to show, football clubs can do invaluable work in their community.
Everton FC’s under-23 team has raised £245,000 to buy a house for young people in Liverpool at risk of homelessness.
— Everton (@Everton) August 13, 2017
The side’s “Home is Where the Heart Is” campaign brought in big donations from club owner Bill Kenwright and first-team full-back Seamus Coleman.
And the new accommodation project for 16 to 23-year-olds will be run in partnership with Everton’s official charity, Everton in the Community.
It’s just great to be able to help people who are less fortunate than ourselves
“To be able to finish the project and help the people in Liverpool who need it most, it’s the best and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done,” said under-23 coach and former Blues FA Cup-winning defender David Unsworth.
“We’ve done something special and we will continue to help, support and fund the project. It’s just great to be able to help people who are less fortunate than ourselves. Thank you so much to everybody who has played a part.”
Everton in the Community’s Executive Chair, Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale, added: “For us to reach such an ambitious fundraising target in such a short amount of time epitomises the spirit of not just Evertonians but the people of Liverpool in general, who have wholeheartedly got behind this campaign to help us combat homelessness in our city.
“We will not rest on our laurels now the money has been raised and will continue our search to find a house close to Goodison Park where we can offer young people who have fallen on hard times or come out of the care system, a place to stay in Liverpool before they become homeless.”
The recently-announced partnership between The Big Issue and Southampton has seen a special Southampton FC edition of The Big Issue sold by vendors across Southampton.
Some lucky vendors in the city also sold outside the ground during the first home game of the new season, while first-team stars Nathan-Redmond, Oriol Romeu, Manolo Gabbiadini and Florin Gardos donned the famous red tabard to have a go at selling the magazine earlier in the week.
As part of the initiative, Big Issue vendors will also be provided with the opportunity to enrol in an eight-week employability programme, run by Saints Foundation, which will equip them with job-ready skills and offer work placements across the club.