The 26-year-old Everton forward even joined in serving the dinners he paid for from his own pocket at the Whitechapel Centre in Kirkdale yesterday. Scotland international Naismith said meeting people at the centre, an organisation which has seen its funding cut over the last year, helped put modern life and the demands on a professional footballer to work over Christmas and New Year, firmly into perspective.
“It definitely does put it in perspective coming here,” he said.
“I’m doing a job that I love and in every job there are perks and bad points. Not just because it’s this time of year, but these charities need all the help they can get.
“The thing is people don’t realise how little they need to do to make a big difference, and seeing how that works is definitely a massive thing for me. If I can get a good result from raising attention to the charity it’s nice for everyone involved.
“People in all walks of life have got problems and worries and I think Christmas time can be a time when you can hopefully forget about a few of them and relax and have a good time. If we can do that for a few people it’s definitely worth it.”
The former Rangers player said his gesture was also partly prompted by how welcome he has been made to feel by people in Merseyside. He added:
“I have been made to feel very welcome not only by the Everton family, but by all the people who represent the Liverpool community. I believe courtesy is the gel that binds a community together.
“I hope that in some small way I can give something back, both on the field as a footballer to thank the chairman, manager, fellow players and fans for the opportunity given to me, but also by caring about the people I share this city with. I feel a very fortunate person but I can see that there is also misfortune in this great city as well.
“The work that is done at the Whitechapel Centre is very humbling and moving. The people who work here are the real heroes of the city of Liverpool. Their No Second Night motto is great, where they aim to get every homeless person who walks through their doors a bed so there is no second night on the streets.”
David Carter, Chief Executive Officer of the Whitechapel Centre said:
“We would like to thank Steven for sponsoring this Christmas dinner. In addition to the money, which is very much needed and welcome, there is the other benefit of the awareness of the work done here, that a player of Steven’s profile can bring to the needs of the people who sleep each night on the streets of Liverpool.
“It is also important for people who have often become separated from their families to know that there are people out there who care and want to help. That is particularly important at this time of year.”
ANYONE wishing to make a donation to The Whitechapel Centre should contact fundraising manager Ruth McCaughley: email@example.com, 0151-207-8639.