Liverpool charity Mandela8 - set up to commemorate the legacy of Nelson Mandela’s outstanding achievement for humanity - has named Liverpool and England international Trent Alexander-Arnold as their newest patron.
The announcement comes as the charity prepares their next Roots and Wings community programme. The programme is designed for young people within the community who lack positive role models and are at risk of criminal exploitation or violent crime. During the 12 week programme, participants will be guided through different solutions to prevent them re-engaging with crime and violence, building their resiliance to say 'no' and not getting involved in certain situations that would put them at risk.
PFA Young Player of the Year Alexander-Arnold has spoken of his delight at becoming a patron of Mandela8. Recently the subject of a documentary by local model and filmmaker Rubi Deschamps, speaking on the responsibility he feels as a role model for young people, Alexander-Arnold said: “I’ve got a big platform; I know a lot of kids look up to me. It’s not just about being a role model on the pitch.
“I want to be someone who feels as though I’ve made a change in the way that people think. If I get through my career and I haven’t done that, then I’d see that as a failure on my part.”
“The Roots and Wings programme and the work that Mandela8 does for young people in Liverpool will give kids a chance at avoiding the kind of pitfalls that are so easy to fall into if you don’t have the right guidance at that age. It’s why I’m delighted to become not only a supporter of the programme, but also patron for Mandela8.”
The young people taking part in the programme live in areas of high deprivation, where fear of crime in not unusual. Frequent risk of permanent exclusion from school due to becoming disengaged can often lead to them becoming socially and economically excluded from their communities. The programme aims to find enduring solutions to prevent young people from becoming involved in crime and violence while also supporting cultural change around the acceptability of carrying weapons and help them not succumb to peer pressure in order to develop into young leaders of the future.
Sonia Bassey, Chair of Mandela8, said: "We feel blessed that Trent wants to join Mandela8 as a patron; so many young people need role models like Trent to give them hope and aspiration.
"Life is really tough for young people currently, and has been for some time, so to have a positive, successful young role model to work with us is truly significant for our young people.”
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To find out more about Mandela8 and the Roots and Wings programme click here.