Tom Davies joined Everton in the community participants at a recent Premier League Kicks session to help work on a new mental health mural.
The artwork, created in partnership with Merseyrail, will be displayed at Kirkdale station later this year in a bid to promote positive mental health amid rising suicide rates at the station.
The Blues midfielder traveled to Zap Graffiti in Liverpool city center to meet the youngsters and offer his own insight into mental wellbeing, while overseeing some of the creative decisions and putting his unique mark on the designs.
Davies also heard from participants about their personal journeys and how the project has had a positive effect on their mental health, as well as how they in turn aim to help others in the community.
Tom Davies said: “It’s always great to get out into the community and meet the young people in our charity’s programs.
“Mental health is such an important issue, and this is a fantastic initiative that allows these young people to use art as a way to creatively explore and express their feelings – and hopefully spread a positive message to members of the wider community.
“Hearing the stories of the participants and having the opportunity to help create this unique work of art for the local community has been truly inspiring and I can’t wait to see the finished product.”
Everton’s Premier League Kicks in the Community program is delivered in community settings across Merseyside, using relevant themes such as football – or in this case, creative art – to inspire young people to promote messages keys and to inspire positive life changes.
The art sessions are delivered as part of the charity’s targeted Premier League Kicks programme, which is part of the wider Kicks offer and targets young people ‘at risk’ of factors such as criminal exploitation , antisocial behavior, poor mental health or low aspirations.
Participants in these sessions are aged 13-14 and are currently studying at Everton Free School, which provides an alternative learning opportunity for young people who have previously struggled in mainstream schools.
The weekly programme, which will run until Christmas, sees young people working alongside a local graffiti artist to develop their artistic skills and with Everton staff in the community to explore examples of positive mental health.
After bringing their ideas to life, entrants will create their final mural on panels at Zap Graffiti’s downtown studios which will then be transported to Kirkdale Station and displayed to passengers.
Andrew Foster, Kicks Lead Youth Worker at Everton in the community, said:
“Through this initiative, we aim to empower our young people and give them the confidence to continue making positive changes in their lives.
“Encouraging our participants to reflect on their own mental and physical well-being and providing a creative outlet for their thoughts and feelings has proven to be a real success so far, and we are excited to see how their work is progressing. over the next few weeks.
“It’s also great to have Tom Davies here today as such a positive role model and to offer input into the final designs.
“Having their artwork displayed at Kirkdale Station will be a hugely proud moment for the young people and we hope it will help inspire others and promote the importance of positive mental health in our community.
James Smith, Acting Director of Human Resources at Merseyrail, said:
“As part of our commitment to supporting the communities we serve, we are proud to partner with Everton in the community on this fantastic initiative.
“This is a difficult time for many in our communities and we understand the mental health pressures this can cause. We have worked hard with our own staff to ensure they are well supported and recently signed the innovative Railway Mental Health Charter, demonstrating our absolute commitment to this.
“We have seen the devastating impact that mental health issues can have on individuals and their loved ones and we hope this mural will send a strong message of hope and support to our passengers and the local population.”