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Blues' Charity Wins Big Lottery Fund Grant

Everton Football Club's official charity has been granted nearly £1 million to fund an innovative new social inclusion programme targeting young offenders.

Everton in the Community has been awarded £930,000 from the Big Lottery Fund to deliver a new scheme called 'Safe Hands', which will offer up to 150 young offenders the chance to make significant and lasting life changes.

This exciting and dynamic project will support the personal development of children and young adults, both male and female, aged between 15 and 21 based in young offenders' institutions and secure units in Greater Merseyside.

Working with young offenders' institutions and arts agencies across Merseyside, specialist Everton in the Community staff will use the power of football to help integrate the young people back into their local communities.

Denise Barrett-Baxendale, Chief Executive of Everton in the Community, said: "As Everton Football Club's official charity we care passionately about reaching out to support those members of our community who, for whatever reason, face difficulties integrating into society.

"Our successful Big Lottery Fund bid will enable us to enhance and enrich the work we do as part of our social inclusion programme. We have in the past had great success using the power of sport and, more specifically, our iconic brand to engage vulnerable and hard-to-reach members of our society. We have made a tremendous impact with our youth programmes and have many success stories from young people who have turned their lives around as a result of the help, support and guidance offered by members of our community team.

"This new initiative will provide the opportunity for Everton in the Community to work in partnership with experts from arts organisations and young offenders' institutions across Merseyside to focus on the personal needs and aspirations of young people leaving secure care. This project has been designed to prevent the young people from reoffending, offering a diversion from negative social influences and equipping them with better coping strategies and support structures to deal with life events.

"We are absolutely thrilled to have secured such a considerable award and we look forward to working with our partners to deliver a dynamic and creative programme, all thanks to the Big Lottery Fund's 'Youth in Focus' programme."

Safe hands will work with young offenders prior to release to identify their hopes and fears and an individual support package will be implemented to prepare them for release.

Once released, the participants will undertake an extensive programme of activities tailored towards their individual needs to help them get 'back on their feet' and build positive relationships with their communities.

At the end of the programme cycle, it is hoped each participant will be supported into either employment, further education or the Safe Hands Peer Mentoring Programme.

Everton midfielder Leon Osman, who is the Club's charity ambassador for Social Inclusion, said: "The Safe Hands programme will make a real difference to the lives of many vulnerable young people across Merseyside and help them to turn their lives around. It's great to see Everton reaching out to even more young people using the power of football."

The award to Everton in the Community comes from the Big Lottery Fund's Youth in Focus funding programme, which is today investing £30million in projects that address the debilitating gaps in support faced by some of England's most vulnerable young people - young carers and young people leaving the care system and youth offending institutions.

Andy Myers, Big Lottery Fund's Regional Development Manager attended Everton's training ground, Finch Farm, to present Leon and Denise with the cheque.

Speaking at the presentation, Andy Myers said: "We are proud to be supporting this brilliant project, which is going to help so many young people across Greater Merseyside. It is a crucial time in these young people's lives, as they prepare to leave a youth offending institution and make the often difficult step to changing their life course and becoming responsible and independent adults.

"Without effective support, many of these young people are doomed to fail before they've even begun. This funding will help Everton in the Community to address this situation and give these young people the support they need to succeed."

For more information about Safe Hands and Everton in the Community visit evertonfc.com/community

Everton Launch New Blackberry App

Everton Football Club has launched a new mobile application for Blackberry users.

The release means the Club now offers a range of mobile products which is unparalleled among Premier League clubs - only AC Milan and Real Madrid have released bespoke applications for Blackberry.

The official Everton Blackberry App offers fans a great way to receive news, images and other engaging content about the Blues straight to their Blackberry.

Supporters have access to official statistical information including fixtures, results, tables and player appearances, plus squad details, ticket information, Club history and teamsheets.

The Blackberry application, which is available from the App Store, joins the hugely successful iPhone and Android apps.

Everton's Head of Media and Communications, Mark Rowan, said: "This release is a further demonstration of our recognition of the increasing dependence people have on applications. "A significant number of our supporters indicated to us that they were keen to see an official application on the Blackberry platform and we are delighted to add to our portfolio with this product.

"The iPhone and Android applications have proved popular and we are confident that the same will be true of this app." The Official Everton Blackberry App is available from the Blackberry App Store now, priced £2.39.

For more information visit evertonfc.com/blackberry.

Blues Granted Planning Permission

Everton Football Club has today (16th Nov 2010) been granted planning permission to build a £9million state-of-the-art retail and administration development on the existing Goodison Park footprint.

The new facility will be built on the site of the Club Everton lounge at the Park End of the stadium and will house a 900 square metre retail store, museum, cafe, a fan-focused hospitality lounge and office space.

The four-floor, self-funded development will also free up space within the corporate areas of Goodison, meaning capacity for corporate hospitality inside the stadium itself can be expanded.

Chief Executive, Robert Elstone, said: "The new building is an exciting phase in the development of Goodison Park.

"It will help us grow our business by giving fans a new, purpose-built Club shop more than twice the size of Everton One, a new hospitality lounge targeted towards Evertonians wanting to socialise before and after games at Goodison and, at last, a proper home for the Everton Collection and other exciting attractions for our fans.

"It will also get the entire Everton team under one roof, something that is long overdue and an opportunity to further improve how we work as a team for the benefit of the fans."

Work will start before the end of the year and is expected to be completed in Autumn 2011. The project will be paid for entirely through the assistance of existing Club retail partner Kitbag and Stadium catering partner Sodexo.

Mr Elstone added: "This new scheme is totally self-funded by partners so there is no net cost to the Club. In fact, it is cash-positive from the start."

Commenting on the decision, Tim Groom, Managing Director of Formrooms, the architects behind the design of the new development, said: "It has been fantastic to work on a project that allowed us not only to be so creative, but also to work with a client who is so passionate about high quality design and achieving an end result that everyone associated with Everton Football Club can be proud of.

"The new development will be a gateway to the stadium and stands against a backdrop of one of England's most historic grounds, therefore it was crucial that whatever we designed was complementary to the existing area, while also reflecting the Club's ambition."

Neville Backs New Policy To Protect Young Fans

Everton Captain Phil Neville has backed a new scheme to safeguard young Blues.

From 10 November all children of 11 years of age and under attending a fixture at Goodison Park must be accompanied by a responsible adult. The Club also suggests that all other junior ticket holders are accompanied to matches by a responsible adult.

The Club has introduced the policy to protect the safety of its junior supporters after a number of young children have been found entering the stadium unaccompanied by an adult for the duration of the match or for the hour preceding kick off.

Adam Green, Everton's Head of Safeguarding, said: "We spent a large amount of time consulting with Club officials and matchday stewards to make sure that the right policy was agreed.

"Everton Football Club works tirelessly to ensure all of its supporters - young and old - enjoy a safe trip to Goodison and this new policy strengthens our position to do so."

The policy has been introduced purely as a duty of care to our younger fans in the event of a stadium evacuation or a serious incident.

Commenting on the new policy, Phil Neville said: "Any new legislation that centres on the safety of young children has got to be worthwhile. We don't want to discourage any youngsters from coming to see us at Goodison but we want them to be perfectly safe and properly looked after."

Everton is committed to the on-going training of all its 500 matchday stewards to help ensure that children and vulnerable adults who enjoy visiting Goodison Park on a regular basis are safeguarded.

For more information about the new policy please contact Adam Green, Head of Safeguarding, by emailing adam.green@evertonfc.com.

Please note, the accuracy of information on this site cannot be guaranteed - please always check the Official Everton Website at www.evertonfc.com.