At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Everton in the Community launched Blue Family and has since helped almost 30,000 vulnerable families and people – and the project will continue. Tony McDonough reports
Everton Football Club’s charitable arm is to continue its pandemic initiative, Blue Family, which over the past 12 months has helped almost 30,000 vulnerable families and individuals.
Shorty after the start of the COVID-19 crisis last April, Everton in the Community launched Blue Family in an effort to reach out to people across the Liverpool city region who found themselves isolated and short of basic necessities.
So far, Everton supporters have contributed more than £400,000 through the season ticket refund process when matches were played behind closed doors – a figure matched by the owner, Mr Farhad Moshiri and chairman, Mr Bill Kenwright. Local businesses have donated approximately £200,000 worth of laptops, clothes, and toys to families.
And, at a virtual annual conference, Everton in the Community’s chief executive, Richard Kenyon, highlighted how Blue Family’s vital work is only able to continue after the club’s supporters and corporate partners came together during the pandemic.
Among those many companies stepping in to help the charity support those most in need have been online retailer Very; LEGO; catering specialist Relish; and software expert Causeway.
Since the beginning of the first national lockdown in March 2020, Blue Family has helped 29,000 families and individuals, with plans now in place to continue the scheme for as long as local people need the support.
At the conference, Richard and the charity’s directors outlined their plans to develop new programmes that will meet the evolving needs of the some of the community’s most at-risk and under-privileged. In the past 12 months Blue Family has:
- Made more than 26,500 check-in and welfare phone calls.
- Received more than 5,550 referrals received for support and assistance through the Blue Family referral scheme and existing Everton in the Community participants.
- Delivered more than 15,750 emergency food parcels and food vouchers.
- Provided more than 270,000 meals to schoolchildren, participants and people in need across Liverpool.
- Supported more than 3,500 families with utilities, mobile phone credit and essential household items.
- Received more than 275 self-referrals from families of pupils who attend our partner schools.
- Provided more than 570 laptops across the region to help close the education inequality gap and help them stay connected and engaged with learning.
Richard said: “As the whole country continues to reflect on the last 12 months, how the world has changed and what the future holds, it is heart-warming to look at how our fans and local businesses demonstrated real community spirit and generosity.
“Blue Family was initially launched as a temporary measure in response to the huge levels of social isolation and sheer need for help and support among some of society’s most vulnerable.
“But, a year on, we’re still running the services – from welfare calls made by staff and players to emergency food parcel deliveries, the initiative is still going strong and will continue.
“This would not have been possible without everyone coming together and joining forces – whether it’s been cash donations, ticket refund donations or donations of laptops and clothes, we have an incredible network behind us and we’re extremely grateful for this level of unprecedented support.”