Gary Neville has joined forces with a host of football stars to give disadvantaged young people a new chance in life through an initiative called Football For Change.
The Manchester United legend has been joined by the likes of Liverpool greats Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard, pundit Gary Lineker, Reds right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, Everton midfielder André Gomes and Wolverhampton Wanderers captain Connor Coady in backing the plan.
Football For Change is bringing together sports stars and business leaders to help young people get into education or find employment opportunities, as well as helping others from challenged communities who face barriers unlocking their full potential.
The charitable initiative, which is being chaired by Atlanta Group CEO Ian Donaldson, is needed now more than ever due to the amount of disadvantaged young people who have seen any chance of a better life further torn from their grasp due to the effects of Covid-19 with opportunities also decimated during the pandemic.
“Too many young people from socially and economically challenged communities face a real struggle to reach their potential,” Neville said.
“The situation has been exacerbated by the pandemic and Football for Change is about giving these young people a platform towards a better future. It is an incredible initiative with an important goal to change lives for the better.”
Indeed, young people were hit hardest by rising unemployment during the Covid pandemic, with those under the age of 35 accounting for almost 80% of jobs lost in the past year nationally and official figures showing youth long-term unemployment has hit a five-year high, with more than 200,000 under 25s out of work for more than six months.
Carragher added: “Football for Change can change lives by giving young people, who’ve often felt left out or left behind, a fair chance in life.
“It is all about giving them the tools to do something positive whether that be in education, employment or in sport.”
Football For Change will help those aiming to return to education, employment or training through a variety of fundraising activities.
The initiative is sponsored by Swinton Insurance and brings together business leaders and footballers in a collaborative effort to support young people in challenged communities who face barriers to achieving their full potential.