Business leaders back footballers’ social mobility crusade

From left: Conor Coady, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ian Donaldson, Jamie Carragher
X The Business Desk

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North West business leaders are backing a new social mobility charitable initiative launched by Liverpool FC star Trent Alexander-Arnold and Wolverhampton Wanderers captain Conor Coady.

Football For Change held its official launch this week when the England teammates were joined by former Anfield star Jamie Carragher and a host of business leaders from the region.

The initiative, which is also supported by former player and TV pundit Gary Lineker and Glasgow Rangers boss Steven Gerrard, is bringing together sports stars and business leaders to help NEET (not in employment, education or training) young people in disadvantaged communities get into education or find employment opportunities, as well as helping others facing social and economic barriers to unlock their full potential.

North West businesses, including MJ Quinn, Everkool, Carpenters Group, Sedulo and Dental Cafe, have signed up to the initiative as founding partners.

As well as providing sponsorship, representatives from the companies will act as role models with the football stars to encourage young people to aim higher in education and training.

The CEO of the Manchester-based Atlanta Group, Ian Donaldson, is chairing Football for Change and has delivered founding sponsorship from Swinton Insurance.

The players and business leaders have set an ambitious target of raising £250,000 to fund programmes to help young people in target areas.

A star-studded gala dinner, including the players involved, will take place in Liverpool this November.

Trent Alexander-Arnold said: “Football For Change is about giving everyone opportunities they deserve from a young age.

“Cities like Liverpool are more deprived than other areas and so it’s important for us to come together to support this. Everyone that has given it their backing so far is massive for us and this is only going to help improve young people’s lives by showing them a more positive path.

“I always thought growing up, if I was to ever have the opportunity to help others and give to others as much as I could, then that would be amazing.

“To have the platform I’ve got now and reach out to so many people, be a role model for so many, it’s important to use that in the right way and get involved in initiatives like this.”

He added: “Growing up without opportunities, you can feel like the world is against you and other people are more lucky and more fortunate than you.

“You see so much deprivation within cities like Liverpool, whether that be food, shelter, education or even opportunities just to play football. And that’s why initiatives like this are so important, to give people opportunities and give people an equal chance to leave their problems to one side and prosper.”

Atlanta Group chief executive, Ian Donaldson, said: “Football For Change is about giving young people facing disadvantages the tools to build better futures. It is about showing them the way to better lives through education and employment. Role models from football can make all the difference. These are the people many youngsters look up to.”

Alan O’Prey, managing director at Knowsley-based MJ Quinn, said: “We are delighted to be part of Football for Change and are committed to giving young people who’ve grown up facing various social and economic obstacles the tools to succeed. This is about levelling the playing field to give them a fair chance in life.”