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Monday, 18 November 2013 (3045465)
by Tom Martin

A YOUTH club in Litherland has celebrated a double success when Jamie Carragher opened up their new sports facility only hours before it was announced that the centre will also receive a £500,000 grant.

Nearly 200 people turned up at Litherland Youth and Community Centre to see the Liverpool FC legend cut the ribbon for the eagerly awaited football pitches and news of the cash boost added to the celebrations.

The youth centre had applied for a slice of the Reaching Communities Fund, which is part of the Big Lottery fund, and staff were delighted to reveal that their proposal had been given the green light to a packed-out venue.

The half a million pounds will now be used to extend the current building and offer more help to adults on issues such as unemployment and education.

But it was the arrival of Jamie Carragher that stole the limelight when he turned up to cut the ribbon for the all-weather outdoor facility.

The manager of the centre, Kenny O'Brien, said: “The entire evening could not have gone any better and there were more than 100 children who turned up.

”Somehow the kids found out that Jamie was coming so a lot of people turned up.

“I thought it might have been chaos with so many children but it wasn't and it turned out to be a really good night.

”Jamie was made up with the reaction and it's great that he is always willing to help out with youth centres like ours.

“When he walked over to open the doors for the pitches everyone was cheering his name!

”One of the parents actually described it as being at a One Direction concert!

“But he is a very humble person and he stayed to sign autographs and chat to parents afterwards”.

Funding for the pitches were made available by NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group, Jamie Carragher 23 Foundation, Sefton Unison, SJP Foundation and The Hemby Trust.

Kenny added: “Children and young people from all over South Sefton will have access to a quality sports provision and the health benefits will be great.

”We will be able to engage children and young people with activities during school holidays and we aim to provide junior football teams with low-cost facilities to train“.

And Kenny also revealed that the announcement of the £500,000 grant will benefit the local community.

He added: ”We told everyone about the money only a few hours before Jamie's arrival so you can imagine that it all added up to be a brilliant night.

“It will allow us to refurbish and extend the building allowing us to provide more services to the community.

”It will include adult education, unemployment and job advice as well as health and fitness sessions.

“We will also continue to build on on our services for children and young people.”


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