Everton Football Club will invest £225,000 in a grassroots football initiative over the next three years.
Mayor Joe Anderson and Everton in the Community Chief Executive Richard Kenyon were at the official launch of The Grassroots Football Development Fund on Monday.
The Club will put £75,000 per year until 2021 into the scheme, designed to remove financial barriers which would prevent youngsters from playing football.
Everton’s cash injection, added to an equivalent contribution from Liverpool Football Club, will provide access for players to pitches, training opportunities and facilities – and sustain and grow grassroots football in the region.
“I asked [Chairman] Bill Kenwright and [Chief Executive] Denise Barrett-Baxendale if they could assist and they were delighted to lend their support,” Mayor Anderson told evertontv.
“That money will go directly to families and clubs and make a big difference.
“We have to be proud of both our football clubs, but in particular Everton, who do so much through Everton in the Community. “Grassroots football plays a huge part in children’s mental and physical health and keeping kids active and away from anti-social behaviour.
“I explained to Bill how we are helping people… he text me and said, ‘Joe, You have my support'.
“And Denise rang immediately. They were the first to say, ‘Here’s the money’.”
The official announcement of Everton and Liverpool’s joint-£450,000 donation was staged at Fazakerley's Jeffrey Humble Sports Ground, one of four thriving football hubs opened in the city across the past 12 months.
Those hubs have attracted more than 500,000 visits from players of all ages in the year since they opened their doors.
And Kenyon is proud of Everton’s position at the vanguard of a measure designed to ensure football remains the lifeblood of the city.
“Everton Football Club makes a massive commitment to our communities in many ways,” Kenyon told evertontv.
“And this is another example of us reaching into the communities and trying to do the right thing by the people of the city.
“It is great the mayor has led this initiative and hopefully the investment will make a big difference. “It is a significant amount directed to young people playing the game in this city.
“Individuals and teams can apply to the fund to make sure they have access to the great facilities and coaching in the city.
“It about making sure football in this city is inclusive.
“This is a really positive announcement and a really good day and we are delighted we could play our part.”