Everton's Under-23 team has hit the £230,000 fundraising target for their ‘Home is Where the Heart is' campaign.
The fundraising drive saw former FA Cup winning defender and current Under-23s manager David Unsworth and his young Blues take on the battle against homelessness by raising enough money to fund and develop a supported living initiative to be delivered by Everton in the Community. The money raised will be used to purchase and operate a house close to Goodison Park which will offer 16-23-year-olds who have fallen on hard times, or perhaps fallen out of the care system, a place to stay in Liverpool.
As well as offering young adults a roof over their head in difficult times, the Club’s official charity will play a large part in their development by providing them with access to key services, including health and wellbeing support and assistance with education employment and training - as well as encouraging them to contribute to the local community through the NCS programme and volunteering.
‘Home Is Where The Heart Is,’ launched in November 2016 with the ‘Goodison Sleepout’, an event which saw the full under-23 squad, members of the coaching staff and Everton supporters sleep in the stands at Goodison Park on what turned out to be the coldest night of the year.
Throughout the 2016/17 season, Unsworth and his team worked tirelessly to help raise awareness for the ever-growing issue of homelessness in Merseyside - balancing their commitment to the fundraising objective with their journey to winning the Premier League 2 title.
Unsworth said of the initiative: "I would like to say a massive thank you to everybody from the committee, to all the fans and the U23 players who have taken part in our amazing campaign.
"To finally reach the target is an amazing achievement and to have done it as quickly as we have is just fabulous.
"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.
"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.
"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."
Quotes or other material sourced from Irish Indepedent