The EFL is today making an enhanced commitment to support its Clubs in raising awareness of the dangers of knife crime.
In the wake of Wednesday’s attacks at Westminster when PC Keith Palmer – a Charlton Athletic season ticket holder – tragically lost his life, additional financial resources are to be made available to support valuable community projects.
The EFL – through the work of its Clubs – will provide direct support up and down the country in an attempt to change attitudes and have a positive impact on long-term behaviour.
Some EFL Clubs – including The Addicks – already have specific initiatives to tackle the issue of knife crime and the fund will potentially help to expand the reach of these programmes.
Shaun Harvey, EFL Chief Executive, said: “Importantly, our immediate thoughts and sympathies are with the family of PC Palmer and all those who have seen their lives impacted by Wednesday’s awful attacks.
“Football as an industry brings many people together in a social environment to watch games – it’s their love, it’s what they do by choice. I believe that getting like-minded people together always gives us this opportunity to highlight a positive image of supporters and a minute’s silence taking place across all our games this weekend is an appropriate tribute to what has happened.
“Seeing the events of this week brings a lot of our community work into focus and we want to ensure football is playing its part to tackle the issue of knife crime as effectively as possible.
“We are therefore proposing to expand the outreach work of our Community Trusts with additional finances in order to educate people as to the negative impact that knife crime can have on many different communities.
“If we can secure the family’s support, we will be more than happy to deliver that work in the name of PC Palmer going forward as we think it will be a fitting tribute to a man whose dedication to his job ended in such tragic circumstances.”
Community programmes are in operation throughout the country and primarily operate in three main areas, including:
1. In schools;
2. In areas where young people are identified as being involved in crime or are at risk of being so.
Existing programmes have seen significant numbers of young people getting back into school and gain employment opportunities. This has been achieved through effective intervention by using diversionary activity in not just football and sport, but mentoring to promote positive change.
Shaun Harvey added his tributes to the actions of the emergency services during this week’s attacks and the importance of the ongoing relationship between themselves and football.
He added: “The bravery of the emergency services needs to recognised from Wednesday. They are the same emergency services that football partners with on a regular basis, 365 days a year.
“That partnership needs to remain strong and my hope is that we can enhance some of the community work that is shared between us to increase its impact and further emphasise the power and reach of our relationship.”