Grassroots football in Liverpool is to get a funding boost of nearly half a million pounds thanks to a cash injection from the city's football clubs.
Over the next three years, Liverpool and Everton's respective charities will each invest £75,000 a year in a Grassroots Football Development Fund to provide equipment, training opportunities and pitch-time for clubs, leagues and families who may face financial barriers.
Working alongside Liverpool City Council and the County Football Association, the clubs will create a steering group that will consider applications for funding support from junior clubs and leagues.
Support will be divided into a development fund - designed to help existing clubs that want to expand and new clubs that are just kicking off. It will help fund the training of coaches and providing facilities for clubs.
An infrastructure fund will also be created to provide new equipment, such as footballs, cones and goalposts.
The eventual aim of the partnership will be to create a Liverpool Football Trust which will oversee future investment in football in the city.
The application and funding criteria for Liverpool’s Grassroots Football Development Fund will be made available to clubs and leagues later this month.
Matt Parish, director of LFC Foundation, said: “The LFC Foundation is delighted to be able to provide an investment of £225k into the Grassroots Football Development Fund.
By equipping local communities and clubs with the support they need, this new fund will help to provide local children and young people with access to high quality coaching and facilities. This is important in ensuring that the game is accessible to all and continues to encourage and sustain participation in the game.”
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson added: “Football is part of the fabric of life in Liverpool. The city is one of the game’s spiritual homes and we are blessed to be the hometown of two of the world’s greatest football clubs.
"We are also fortunate enough to have one of the most dynamic and vibrant football scenes at local level, which is a testament to the hundreds of people who give up their time week after week to make sure the city’s grassroots game is thriving.
"Working together we want to remove any barriers that our children and young people face to getting involved in the game and we want to make sure that football continues to thrive in our city for generations to come.”
Richard Kenyon, Everton FC's director of community said: “Grassroots football is the lifeblood of our game and plays a vital role in our communities.
"It is where the journey starts for our future professional footballers but also brings health benefits to participants of all ages and abilities. It can also bring significant social benefits to young people, including bringing people from different backgrounds together.
"Working with Liverpool City Council our contribution of £75,000 per year for three years will help young people in our city access new facilities– ensuring future generations have an equal opportunity to take part and share in the beautiful game."