Friday 24 May 2013
A selection of MEPs have witnessed at first hand the work that the Premier League's clubs on Merseyside are doing in their local communities.
The MEPs first attended the Premier League Schools Tournament this month at Anfield, where boys and girls from schools across the country got a chance to compete on the hallowed turf of Liverpool FC.
While at Anfield they also attended a session of Reduc@te, the club's project to use football to help children improve their skills in the key areas of literacy, numeracy and ICT.
"The two clubs provide a fantastic opportunity for these kids to come and enjoy sport"
Arlene McCarthy MEP
The next day they saw how Liverpool FC Foundation works with the Royal School of the Blind, the oldest blind school in the world, to get young people with visual and complex additional needs the chance to get involved, socialise and enjoy their sport.
In one session, LFC Foundation coaches set up footballs filled with ball bearings, enabling the motion of the ball to make a gentle rattling noise that helps players to locate it.
As well as Liverpool’s projects the MEPs got first-hand experience of the great work that Everton are doing in the local community. They saw how Everton in the Community works with the local NHS Trust to help individuals and families living with dementia. The "Pass on the Memories" programme uses the power of football and the history of it on Merseyside to aid the power to remember.
Everton’s work with the younger community was also demonstrated. The MEPs saw the work of "Safe Hands" a five-year project launched last year to support 150 young offenders, both male and female aged between 15 and 21, to reintegrate back into society.
Safe Hands uses education, sport, media and the arts, to help get these vulnerable people back on their feet and into training, employment or further education, to prevent them from reoffending
"Today has been great and inspiring for me," said Arlene McCarthy, MEP for the North West of England, said. "The two clubs provide a fantastic opportunity for these kids to come and enjoy sport.
"As football clubs, Liverpool and Everton have a powerful influence on the Merseyside community, and have successfully inspired positive change and built better futures for people from a diverse range of backgrounds for many years."