“A Wonderful Place…”

“It is a wonderful happy place. Everyone is so kind with lots of fun, laughing and learning new things.”

The words of one of those who access the Orrell Trust in Bootle, a small grassroots charity committed to working to improve the local community and making it a better place to live.

The Orrell Trust is just coming to the end of a three-year funding programme from the Steve Morgan Foundation, which helped with the salaries of two support workers, in turn allowing the charity to deliver more activities and purchase new equipment and resources to further its development.

The Trust first set up in Bootle in 2002 and has, for the last five years, operated at the St John and St James Church and Community Centre.

It aims to support vulnerable and isolated people and develop projects to engage children, young people and families, and, by doing so, improve community cohesion.

One project, the Jolly Soap Opera Mob, provides social activities for young people with disabilities. 

“The grant from the Steve Morgan Foundation allowed us to grow and develop the group and develop engaging activities to help participants reach their full potential,” says Project Worker Tanya McGibbon.

“The two support workers whose salaries have been supported are at the heart of the group, driving forward ideas of participants and delivering exciting sessions.

“We have also been able to purchase new equipment and resources to ensure that the sessions that are delivered are diverse and appeal to all interests.

“These sessions often have a learning element allowing people to develop new skills such as cookery, dance and performing arts.”

The four themes which the Trust focuses on its work for the community comprise health and wellbeing, creativity, learning new skills and new social experiences.

They also regularly consult with the participants, parents and carers to ensure that the programme of activities is meeting people’s needs, as well as being engaging and helping with learning.

“The themes allow us to develop a wealth of exciting and stimulating projects that are inclusive for all,” added Tanya.

“There is a strong emphasis on the group building confidence by challenging themselves to learn a new skill, and that learning is always a focus, as well as having fun.

“The members gain a sense of accomplishment as well as potentially opening new interests and opportunities.”

Examples of the benefits of the Jolly Soap Opera include one attendee overcoming a feeling of shyness to become a confident singer – and first on the karaoke – and another who having initially not been keen, ended up being a part of a Greatest Showman performance in front of an audience of over 60.

“The grant awarded has enabled the Jolly Soap Opera Mob to grow and thrive, with the funds enabling the group to experience many new activities,” added Tanya. 

“Without the funding this much needed group would have not been able to engage with some of the most vulnerable people in our community and fulfil this ever-growing need.”

More news