Retired international and Liverpool number 23 Jamie Carragher is a role model to young people and fellow footballers. With money from his testimonial game in 2009 he created the 23 Foundation through the Community Foundation for Merseyside. It reached its £1m target for an endowment fund in February 2010, with match funding from the Grassroots Endowment Challenge from central government.
“I always intended the money from the game to go to charity, but setting up a foundation means it can have impact and for a longer time,” says Carragher. The 23 Foundation provides grants and support to young people in local communities. It encourages the youth of Merseyside to actively reach for their dreams by following their sporting interests. It has distributed £308,041 in grants to support 20 individuals and 55 community groups across Merseyside. 2013 saw a successful partnership between the 23 Foundation and Merseyside YouthBank, a youth-led grant- maker and decision-maker. The 23 Foundation provided £5,000 for YouthBank’s young panellists to distribute to local children and young people’s projects that they felt would make a positive difference to their communities. Projects included sports coaching courses, intergene- rational activities and play schemes to encourage local children to enjoy outdoor activities.
The culmination of this work was an event, held at Café Sports England, where YouthBank members presented certificates alongside Carragher to the young people representing their community projects.
“Being involved is a big part of what we are aiming to achieve. I hope that I can give youngsters a lift and that extra push to realise their goals. Liverpool is a place that likes to see its own do well. It is a tight knit community and growing up I got a lot of help and encouragement from people around me. Now I am in a fortunate position and able to give back it feels right to do that,” says Carragher.
The 23 Foundation has established a 23 Foundation Soccer School for young people from the Sefton area of Merseyside where Carragher comes from. It works with six schools in deprived areas of Sefton as part of a reward scheme for young people delivering high quality football coaching sessions to boys and girls from ages five to 16. The Mayor of Liverpool supported the extension of the scheme to eight schools in deprived areas of Liverpool.
As well as inspiring Merseyside’s youth, Carragher is sharing his giving experience with other footballers interested in taking a strategic approach to philanthropy.
Carragher has been instrumental in setting up a partnership between UK Community Foundations and the PFA to offer charitable giving options to players via community foundations. It is hoped to lead to other philanthropists from football engaging with giving in communities across the country.
Carragher says he is honoured to be recognised for his philanthropy: “I am pleased but it is more about doing charity well. Everybody involved in charity deserves recognition.”