Young footballers from across the borough enjoyed a fantastic end to the season with a well-organised tournament at Shaftesbury Youth Club on Saturday.

No fewer than 25 under 10s sides competed in the 7-a-side competition, which was ran in a mini-league format, ensuring equal playing time for all teams across both the morning and afternoon sessions.

The tournament was organised by domestic abuse charity the Paul Lavelle Foundation.

Nicola Cullen, Assistant Charity Manager and coordinator of the event, said: "It was community spirit at its finest. Massive thanks to Liam and Sarah McDonell, Janice & Debbie from Shaftesbury Youth Club for hosting our tournament and making it run so smoothly.

"Thanks to all who came, from coaches, players to referees and parents. It certainly was a great day for all the children."

After the devastating loss of Paul Lavelle in a domestic abuse incident in 2017, friends and family of Paul came together to create The Paul Lavelle Foundation.

The charity was created to raise awareness of male domestic abuse, support male victims and survivors and provide healthy relationship education as a preventative measure.

The charity was registered in April 2018 with the intention of raising awareness to male domestic abuse through sports and outdoor activities.

Wirral Globe: An Allport Hawks team talk is underway at the tournament played across five pitches at Shaftesbury Youth ClubAn Allport Hawks team talk is underway at the tournament played across five pitches at Shaftesbury Youth Club

Due to the gap in service for support for males experiencing domestic abuse, the response to the foundation grew considerably. 

Office premises were opened in February 2019 by Barbara Lavelle and former Everton goalkeeper Neville Southall, helping to establish the operation, which has grown from strength to strength ever since.

After nearly two years of hard work, 2020 saw the start of the delivery of the organisation’s activities.

This included the first Healthy Relationship Education workshops in schools, the community sports and activity groups for physical and mental health and well-being and on the July 15, the foundation achieved its ultimate aim by opening the first dedicated frontline support service for male domestic abuse in the area.

Educational booklets were handed out to all team players on the day, specifically aimed at younger age groups.

Charity Manager Sharne Williams said: "Part of our mission today at our football festival was to deliver our charity's aim of healthy relationship education to young people. The booklets are an additional education tool designed to run alongside our FAIR PLAY board game we take into schools.

"The booklets have fun stuff inside to help them understand characteristics of a positive relationship, how to manage emotions and how to seek support from trusted adults.

"So that's about 250 kids reached at this tournament."