Everton CEO, Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale, has joined a national steering group which aims to harness the collective power of business as a force for good in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.
Launched by former Cabinet minister, Rt Hon Justine Greening, the C-19 Business Pledge is a national scheme encouraging businesses, that can, to join the coronavirus effort by pledging to help employees, customers and communities across the country to get through the crisis.
Everton is the first football club to join businesses and other organisations from across the UK in an initiative to help Britain and its most vulnerable citizens, as communities brace themselves for a sharp increase in isolation, loneliness, mental health issues and financial hardship.
Professor Barrett-Baxendale said: “Our country is facing a crisis unlike anything encountered since the Second World War. As a football club in the heart of our community, we are acutely aware of the important role we play. Signing up to this pledge and committing to the measures and steps necessary to help our fans, our staff and our wider communities underlines how seriously we are taking the task ahead of us - and how determined we are to ensure we support the most vulnerable now and in the weeks and months to come.”
The steering group is targeting not just the immediate challenges of coronavirus, but also the challenges of recovery and has received the backing of employers representing more than 250,000 staff and students, with Everton one of the first businesses to sign up.
Justine Greening said: “With the future of many employers hanging in the balance and incredibly tough times unfolding in sectors across the UK, businesses face many difficult decisions.
“But those companies who are able to, can have a huge role in battling the impact of coronavirus and make a real difference in these uniquely challenging times.
“Everton Football Club is one such organisation that has already shown amazing initiative and commitment to helping people affected by the coronavirus. Denise Barrett-Baxendale‘s input, experience and commitment will be vital in mobilising the business community. I’m delighted she has joined the steering group of the C19 Business Pledge, which is all about encouraging as many businesses as possible to get involved and then helping them do that faster and better by sharing all the great work that’s already been done. The early response has been incredible, and I urge others to follow Everton and sign up.”
Having signed up to the pledge, Everton has given its backing to three main objectives built around employees, customers and communities. These pledges, if carried out by businesses to reflect the needs of their own communities, will not only help Britain through the immediate challenges of Coronavirus, but also through its recovery.
Firstly, to support employees throughout and beyond this challenging time, including practical support and advice on financial security, mental health, personal wellbeing as well as reintegration back into work for those who have experienced an extended period away from the workplace. Secondly, to publish clear and simple advice for fans, with specialist teams dedicated to supporting those facing problems, such as the vulnerable and isolated. This is being delivered as part of Everton and Everton in the Community’s ‘Blue Family’ campaign. Thirdly, doing everything possible to help wider communities in the face of the epidemic.