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The social values football team improving kids lives
Photos by Alan Griffiths Sports Photography

A new grassroots social value football club in Wirral has been improving the lives of children. New Brighton Victoria FC was founded in May 2023, with the aim of instilling social values into children, and already has some profound success stories amongst their members.

Having just embarked upon their first full season, the junior football club is aiming to become a 'game changer' in grassroots junior football. Rather than leading with the often toxic competitive nature of junior sport, epitomised by angry parents screaming on the touchline, the club is doing great things to promote inclusion and wellbeing through the sport.

The new club now has four teams of both boys and girls up to the age of 16 and all children get equal playing time regardless of ability. During training sessions subjects such as mental health are discussed and following matches there's a de-brief where the children are encouraged to talk about their feelings.

Each month 2 children are selected for specialist 1-2-1 training at a football academy and there are regular social events and team building activities. The club engages in charity and fundraising activities; raising money for partner charities:- Young Lives Vs Cancer, CICRA and other local organisations such as Charlotte's Brightside.

Club Chairman Chris Guy said:- "Football is a huge platform and like anything it can be used in a good way or a bad way. Unfortunately, the game has developed a bit of a toxic culture that can actually be destructive to children's mental health. Things such as rejection, failure, exclusion, aggressive parents and professional players giving out the wrong messages can all do damage. I'm so proud of the legacy we are creating. We have some wonderful volunteers, parents and children all aligning with our club values. Our club isn't just about playing football on a Saturday, it's also about what we do off the field too. Helping the local community, raising money for local charities and going above and beyond to make sure that our children are happy."

New Brighton Victoria FC already has some profound success stories. 1 such story is that of 9 year old midfielder George Cormack who has been suffering with Crohn's disease. When he first joined the club he lacked confidence, but has gone on to become 1 of their best players; winning:- 'Man Of The Match' and 'Player's Player' awards.

Chris said:- "George is a shining example of what we're trying to do at this club. He overcomes daily challenges and does not let his illness affect his love for football and his friends and teammates. His confidence and ability have really grown through playing for the team and his mum, Lisa, is now Club Secretary. It's great to see the other players be so encouraging and supportive to him too."

New Brighton Victoria FC has a policy of:- Nourishment, Behaviour, Volunteering, Friends and Chance and a code of conduct that encourages children to:- Make Effort, Play Fair, Obey Rules, Shake Hands and Respect & Listen. The idea is to use the sport as a toll to help children develop as people as well as footballers.

Chris summarised:- "Through football we aim to mould the next generation into good human beings who are:- kind, caring, conscious and community driven. We want to end the toxic culture of angry parents, competing aggressively, exclusion, bullying and the wrong messages being given by professionals. Football is a powerful tool and here at New Brighton Victoria FC we want to use it in the right way."

New Brighton Victoria FC is a new grassroots social value football club in Wirral that has been improving the lives of children through wellbeing, inclusion and a positive culture and ethos. The club is ever growing and is open to new members and new sponsors; current sponsors supporting the club are:- Skyline, Riverview Environmental, Max Spielmann and The Sea Shanty.

For more information visit the New Brighton Victoria Football Club website.

59% of households plan to make Christmas cutbacks as cost of living crisis yet to subside

RESEARCH by easyMoney has found that 59% of us will be making cutbacks this Christmas, as the high cost of living continues to stretch our household finances to breaking point.

A survey of UK households, commissioned by easyMoney, found that 64% of us usually compile an additional savings pot in the run up to Christmas to help with the increased cost of the holiday season.

Hardly surprising given that additional research found that in 2022, the average person spent £430 on Christmas gifts alone.

However, with the increased cost of living, this spend had reduced from £548 the previous year, as consumer price inflation spiralled to 9.2% in December 2021 versus 4.8% the previous year.

While inflation has eased in recent months, it remains considerably high at 6.3%, with many households continuing to struggle with the current cost of living.

As a result, easyMoney found that 55% of those surveyed have saved less than they had planned to when it comes to covering the cost of Christmas this year.

59% plan to reduce their Christmas spend in 2023 to help overcome the higher cost of living.

When it comes to where they plan to make cutbacks, buying fewer presents for wider family or friends was the main way they plan to make ends meet this Christmas.

Less social spending also ranked high, which means fewer Christmas drinks, trips to Christmas markets and pantomimes.

Less presents for immediate family also ranked high, followed by a cutback on our spend on alcohol, Christmas food and travelling to see loved ones.

Jason Ferrando, CEO of easyMoney says:- "Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it's also 1 of the most expensive, and the pressure to provide can put an incredible strain on our finances. While inflation may have eased when compared to last year, many households are still struggling when it comes to putting enough by to cover the additional cost of Christmas. What's more, our previous research found that the majority of those who had accumulated a nest egg for a rainy day have already had to utilise it as a result of the cost of living crisis. As a result, many are facing another tough December, having to make cutbacks on everything from presents, social outings and food and drink in order to make ends meet, without the safety net of previous savings to rely on."

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