While a move for Everton to the Bramley Moore Docks is slowly coming closer to reality, the club want to make sure that their spiritual home at Goodison Park will never be forgotten.
Speaking at today’s Annual General Meeting, Deputy CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale spoke passionately about giving the Blue half of Stanley Park back to the community.
“I’ve lost many hours of sleep thinking about leaving Goodison and what that means. How does a proper People’s Club exit its community after 125 years? Then I realised that the answer is very simple: we don’t. We don’t leave our community - we will never abandon our spiritual home.
“A couple of months ago, the Board agreed to register Goodison Park as a community asset. So that site, the Grand Old Lady, will be used for community benefit.
“I am working with a number of colleagues from Liverpool Hope University to ensure that we develop a Trust Board that will look after that site for generations to come. Everton Football Club will never leave Goodison Park.”
“I’ve also been working with colleagues at Liverpool Hope University as part of a research project at the moment to see how we build a happy, vibrant, prosperous community that will thrive in the Liverpool 4 area when we relocate to Bramley-Moore Dock.
“We are looking at how when we have relocated, fans can still return to [the site of] Goodison Park and how we can build a community that will be successful.
“Some very early ideas we have at the moment are about health, education, commercial and retail units, housing and leisure facilities. It’s still very much a research project but we want to make sure we define our site and we remember who we are at Everton.”
Barrett-Baxendale has been widely lauded for her work with Everton in the Community, which she is the Chief Executive of. Over the past year the EitC has continued to go from strength to strength, including regeneration work around Goodison Park.
Everton Free School and the Community Hub are next to each other very close to the stadium. The Free School offers 120 young people a year an alternative education while the Community Hub is the new home for EitC which supports multiple award-winning social programmes throughout the area.
Coming up next is the ‘Blue Base’, a centre for members of society over the age of 75 and suffer from loneliness, as well as fans with disabilities. The facility is due to be finished this year.
Everton in the Community has won 71 community awards since 2012 and delivers programmes from 167 centres across the Merseyside region. Click here to find out more about the Club’s official charity.