Former Premier League footballer Marvin Sordell has been chosen as the first ever charity ambassador for the Young Gamers & Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM).
His work as a volunteer with YGAM will involve providing valuable insights to the charity’s education programmes with a strong focus on mental health.
Commenting on his new role, Sordell said: “I’m delighted to become an ambassador for YGAM. This is a fantastic charity led by some inspirational people in Lee, Anne and Keith. I joined the YGAM away day a few months ago and I was blown away by the passion and enthusiasm of everyone that works to deliver their education programmes.
“It’s amazing to see teachers, parents, youth workers and people with lived experience come together to safeguard future generations. It is very pleasing to see education around mental health form such a pivotal part of their resources. I’ve also been really impressed with their collaborations with football club community trusts and I’m looking forward to supporting their great work.”
Prior to supporting YGAM, Sordell enjoyed a 10-year career in professional football, starting with Championship side Watford in 2009 prior to playing in the Premier League with Bolton Wanderers FC, and was also part of Burnley FC’s first ever Premier League team during the 2014/15 season.
The striker scored 52 goals in all competitions and also played for the England under-21 team and was part of Team GB’s football squad at the 2012 London Olympics, before retiring at the age of 28 citing mental wellbeing.
The decision to volunteer with YGAM is the latest in a line of charitable moves by Sordell, following involvement with CALM and the FA and Heads Together-led Heads Up, which saw him work alongside HRH Duke of Cambridge.
Lee Willows, Chief Executive of YGAM, praised the new addition to his team. He said: “This is another proud moment for the whole YGAM team. Marvin is an inspiration to many of us and he has done more to raise awareness of mental health than any other footballer. Lived experience is at the heart of everything we do and Marvin brings a very authentic perspective to our work around mental health.
“His superb career in professional football followed by his inspiring work since retiring means Marvin also brings an admirable network that will benefit the charity enormously as we continue to grow our reach and impact in several new areas. The YGAM team have been so impressed with Marvin and we are all very excited to be working with him. I can’t think of a better person to become our first ever ambassador and I’m delighted. “
Sam Starsmore, an Education Manager at YGAM, also welcomed Sordell to the charity: “I have followed Marvin’s story for the last 12 months since he retired and he has certainly been an inspiration to me personally.
“There is no doubt whatsoever that there will be people who are suffering in silence who will listen to his journey and they will speak out. I can’t wait to work with Marvin and for the charity to benefit from his profile and insight. It’s amazing and the meaningful impact we will achieve is why I come to work every day.”