Jack Grealish was in attendance as the Aston Villa Foundation showcased a number of their community and education programmes as part of the EFL’s Day of Action.
The homegrown hero cast his eye over a Walking Football session before he participated in Generation Gains, a project aimed at encouraging physical activity and reducing social isolation among O65s.
Both activities were run by teenagers on the Foundation’s Pre-Apprenticeship scheme, a programme which offers training and mentoring to young people not in education or work.
Grealish appreciated the diverse nature of the day’s events in the Academy Building.
He said: “I think it’s important that the younger guys can come down here and help the older generation.
“It’s good that it’s not just the older generation here, we’ve got the young lads refereeing the games and helping out with the stretches.”
The walking footballers jumped at the opportunity to ask Grealish questions and snap a photo with the midfielder before he moved into the Generation Gains session and greeted each and every one of the participants.
A Villa fan himself, Grealish appreciates the importance of the club’s work in the community and the role he can play within that.
He said: “I think it’s important that we all get involved. For me, it’s nice because I’m seeing Villa fans and they’re like my family.
“My uncles and my grandads are all Villa fans like these guys, so it’s good to come down, speak to them, answer their questions and let them know what’s happening around the place.
“Everyone in Birmingham, who is a Villa fan, wants to do what I’ve done, and I’m really grateful for that. I try to give back to the community as much as I can and give back to the Villa fans as much as I can.”
All 72 Football League clubs are taking part in the Day of Action on 20th March, showcasing the work they do to tackle issues in society across education, health, community inclusion and participation.
The Pre-Apprenticeship scheme aims to help young people with their employment prospects by offering support, training and practical volunteering experience.
At the end of the Pre-Apprenticeship programme five young people involved in the scheme will undertake apprenticeships with the Aston Villa Foundation.
Villa’s weekly Walking Football sessions are open to anyone over the age of 50, taking place in the Academy Building from 2-3pm every Tuesday.
If you’d like more information about Walking Football, Generations Gains or any of the Foundation’s programmes, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.