Everton to launch The People's Place near Goodison Park to help neighbours with their mental health

Video report by ITV Granada Reports Merseyside correspondent Andy Bonner

A football club is using the game as a force for good by opening a new mental health hub to help its neighbours.

Everton's charity arm already had a number of schemes to improve the wellbeing of people in Liverpool and it is hoped the new building will be a beacon for its services.

The new mental health hub - The People's Place - is run by Everton In The Community near Goodison Park, and aims to make a real difference in the area, one of the most deprived neighbourhoods in the country.

Deputy CEO Mike Salla said: "When you look at any statistics about health inequalities or poor health outcomes, the L4 area comes off the top a list each time.

"We find ourselves in such a privileged position whereby we can make such a significant difference to help improve the quality of life of people who are local to us and make some real meaningful change."

The People's Place will have its own gymnasium. Credit: ITV Granada

The People’s Place will bring its services under one roof to anyone, regardless of age, gender, location - or football allegiances.

It aims to promote positive mental health alongside support related to suicide awareness and/or suicide prevention.

It will have a gym, spaces for open access sessions, workshops and counselling.

"My own mental health took a bit of a turn and the support it gave me has been incredible," Jake Mattocks, who has used the Premier League club's charity services, says.

"The People's Place will be absolutely incredible for the community, not just participants here but for anyone who wants to come along, for the whole city."

The hub is due to open to the public in January 2023. Credit: ITV Granada

Almost the entire ward of Everton falls into the most deprived 1% of neighbourhoods nationally, and mental illness and suicide are more common in more significantly deprived inner-city areas such as Liverpool 4 where Goodison Park resides.

Suicide is thought to kill 150 people across Merseyside each year, according to statistics.

The £2m facility will provide wellbeing activities alongside educational and employment support with a layer of professional care from Health and Wellbeing Practitioners, GPs and Mental Health Professionals.

Jon Jones, Senior Programme Manager at The People's Place, said: "There's an increase in waiting times and waiting lists around mental wellbeing, which unfortunately I think pushes the threshold up to access support.

"Hopefully, The People's Place can help in meeting that need of those who perhaps fall between the gaps."

Everton in the Community was the first Premier League community arm to address mental health as a targeted development programme and in 2008, developed the Imagine Your Goals programme.

The charity says the facility will remain in Everton when the club moves to its new 52,000-seater stadium on the city's waterfront in 2024.