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Everton stars help launch “Alfie’s Squad”

When eight-year-old Alfie lost his dad in 2017 after suffering mental health issues, he wrote into Everton Football Club as he heard they are good at helping others and he wanted to turn his own experiences into something positive to help those less fortunate.

With the help of Everton in the Community and first team stars Michael Keane and Theo Walcott, Alfie has launched ‘Alfie’s Squad’ – a fundraising campaign to help develop a children’s focused area within The People’s Place to offer support to other bereaved children.

And, after training on Thursday afternoon, Blues duo Keane and Walcott were on hand to support Alfie and mum Allison as he launched his new campaign to his Year 5 classmates at Our Lady of Good Help Catholic Primary School in Wavertree.

Everton in the Community mentors delivered a ‘Tackling the Blues’ session to Alfie and his class – a sport and education-based programme in partnership with Edge Hill University that educates young people on mental health issues – and after a few warm-up games and an introduction to emotions and feelings, England internationals Keane and Walcott joined the class in an activity of emoji bingo where they are asked to describe recent emotions using emojis.

Reflecting on the busy launch of his fundraising campaign. Alfie – now aged 10 – said: “I hope that we can raise lots of money to build up the funds for The People’s Place with Everton in the Community. It was great to have Michael and Theo at my school today and was really exciting to interact with them.”

“The People’s Place is really important because it ties in talking and getting help. People don’t always feel like they can speak out when they are feeling sad and I am looking forward to working with Everton to help change that.”

Mum Allison added: “I’m really proud of him; he’s making something good out of something bad and it’s really helping him knowing that he’s going to be helping others with The People’s Place.”

England defender Keane first met Alfie in December 2017 when he helped with a food bank collection and after meeting him again today said: “It’s been great to see Alfie again. He’s had a really tough couple of years with losing his dad but the things he’s trying to achieve with ‘Alfie’s Squad’ in terms of helping other people is so inspiring for someone so young and it’s been great to come and help him launch his campaign today.

“It was a really good session for Theo and I to come along and get involved with and help play our part in communicating to the children that it’s important to talk about how we are feeling and when we are happy or sad.”

Echoing his teammates sentiments, Walcott said:“It’s important for us to teach the younger generation about feelings and emotions and how it’s important to express them and how it’s okay not to be okay. What Alfie has done, what he has gone through up to this stage and what him and the Club are trying to achieve shows the character he is. He is a very brave character and a leader; it’s really inspiring that he’s expressing his emotions so positively

“When I saw Alfie go to the front of the classroom and express how confident he is, talking to his whole class, I couldn’t have done that at that age and it just shows the generation now is changing, it’s good for the future, I really do believe that.”

Everton in the Community Director of Health Michael Salla said: “Alfie is such a remarkable young man and for someone who has just turned 10-years-old to be doing what he’s doing is just fantastic. ‘Alfie’s Squad’ will feed into The People’s Place project which will see us provide a purpose-built facility to help improve good mental health and suicide prevention and work towards tackling this massive problem.

“By choosing to launch ‘Alfie’s Squad’ is a fantastic way for him to turn what he has been through on its head and he now wants to help other young children who are perhaps in the same position as him. For him to turn such a negative into such a positive is massively inspiring.”

‘Alfie’s Squad’ will see Evertonian Alfie work alongside Everton in the Community to raise awareness of the importance of opening up and communicating with your friends and family as well as taking on fundraising activities to develop a special area within The People’s Place offering children a place to go and talk.

The People’s Place will be a purpose-built mental health facility in the shadows of Goodison Park that will support anyone in times of need. The building will become a delivery site for the charity’s existing mental health programmes and enable signposting to other services such as suicide awareness and prevention.

You can support Alfie in his fundraising by visiting www.evertonfc.com/alfie or visit @AlfiesSquad on Twitter for more information

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NSNO Staff

Staff Writer at NSNO.co.uk
NSNO Staff writers maintain the news on the site and ensure the site is updated frequently with the latest Everton news. Starting in 2004, NSNO has always been at the forefront of bringing you the latest Everton news and rumours, building a large forum and growing social media presence, which you can follow by clicking the links to the left.

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