Liverpool FC Goalkeeper, Simon Mignolet returned to IntoUniversity North Liverpool to help celebrate the centre’s triumphant first birthday.
The Anfield centre is a collaboration between educational charity IntoUniversity, the University of Liverpool and the Liverpool Football Club Foundation, set up to help young people in Anfield to do better at school and believe in their ability to get to university.
In parts of North Liverpool where the centre operates, the higher education progression rate is as low as 17.5%, less than half the national average (37%).
The project is celebrating a successful year, having exceeded all its annual targets; with over 1,100 local children attending to take advantage of the centre’s support services and many reporting they are working better at school as a result.
The centre partners with a selection of primary and secondary schools in the local area, supporting students aged seven to 18, by providing after-school help with homework and one-to-one mentoring opportunities with University of Liverpool students, as well as delivering workshops on careers and university life.
During the event, children from All Saints Catholic Primary School, one of the six local schools that works with the centre, were taking part in a workshop about careers in sports organisations, when the Liverpool FC star surprised them.
Having attended the launch of the centre last year, Simon, who has a degree in political science, was keen to hear about the centre’s accomplishments.
He said: “It has been great to come back and learn about the difference that the centre has made to local children; helping them with their school work and making them feel more confident about continuing education.
“University may not be for everyone, but all children should have the option and the support to get there if they want to”.