Attending LFC Foundation’s Respect 4 All programme for the past 10 years has given a lifelong Reds fan the chance to be who he wants to be.
Joe, 21, has severe learning difficulties and has developed his skills both on and off the pitch since joining the programme when it first began back in 2009.
Both Joe and his sister Rosie attend the weekly sessions at Anfield Sports and Community Centre, where they love nothing more than playing regular football with their friends.
Their mum Vicky said: “Bringing Joe and Rosie here every week means they’re able to participate in things that maximise their abilities and it allows them mix with other children of the same ability.
“They don’t feel different to the other kids here - they can just be who they want to be.
“The coaches at Respect 4 All are fantastic and the support they give everyone is amazing. We’d be lost without it - it gives Rosie and Joe something to look forward to every week.”
Joe is a popular figure at Respect 4 All thanks to his infectious energy and enthusiasm, and he has built strong relationships among both the participants and coaches.
LFC Foundation coach Jamie Spellman said: “When you first met Joe, straight away he just makes you feel welcome - him and Rosie have been great ever since they first started coming.
“I count myself lucky to have the had the pleasure to meet people like Joe and Rosie and to work with them on a weekly basis. I think anyone from any line of work would benefit from having the likes of Joe walk into the office and raise everybody’s mood.”
Respect 4 All is LFC Foundation’s inclusion project, providing free weekly multi-sports and physical activity sessions for children and young people with complex and additional needs across the Liverpool City Region.
Part-funded by the Premier League and BT Disability Fund, Respect 4 All has engaged over 4000 participants since its launch in 2009. The project aims to remove potential barriers surrounding accessibility to sport for disabled people and improve the inclusion between participants with and without disabilities.
LFC Foundation fundraises throughout the year to support Respect 4 All and its wider range of programmes and partnerships.
Tickets are now available for the third official LFC Foundation Legends match at Anfield, which will help raise vital funds for the club’s official charity.
The game will see the Liverpool FC Legends - including the likes of Jamie Carragher, Dirk Kuyt and Robbie Fowler - take on Milan Glorie, a side featuring names such as Kaka, Andrea Pirlo and Paolo Maldini, on Saturday March 23.
Hospitality starts from £70 per person - call 0151 264 2222 for details, or click here.