‘Award doesn’t just change lives, it saves lives’

Andrea Pankiw believes in second chances.

It’s the reason she describes her role heading up the homeless charity The Cotton Street Project in Liverpool as her ‘dream job’.

Last year the charity took 73 homeless people with a drug, alcohol or gambling problem off Liverpool’s streets and gave them a new start.

“They come to us with nothing and hopefully leave us with hopes and dreams of an independent life,” she said.

The Cotton Street Project was the brainchild of hotel entrepreneur Lawrence Kenwright but when Covid-19 struck he had to scale back his involvement and financial support – leaving Andrea with the prospect of having to close the charity’s doors.

“It was devastating,” she said. “Even though we’ve been in existence for 18 months we’ve only been a registered charity since September 2019, which made it very hard to get grants because we haven’t got published accounts.

“The thing about me is I will never give up on anybody or anything. It’s the reason why my role at The Cotton Street Project is the perfect job.

“I’ve no doubt the homeless people we look after would have found another roof over their heads but 11 of the 14 people are in a programme with us to tackle their underlying addictions.

“Each and every one of them has mental health issues but I refuse to give up on them.”

In desperation she applied to the Steve Morgan Foundation for help.

“The only thing that works at The Cotton Street Project is trust,” said Andrea. “I’ve kept the residents informed every step of the way.

“They knew there was a real possibility of having to close but then the Steve Morgan Foundation awarded us £20,000 for the next three months. I cried when I found out.

“It’s more than a lifeline. The award couldn’t only change lives it could save lives.  I can’t begin to thank the Steve Morgan Foundation enough.”

The Cotton Street Project opened its doors in 2018 with a vision to help homeless people with more than just shelter and food. They also offer tailored recovery programmes aimed at helping individuals return to a life in society as independent, skilled individuals.

Steve Morgan, founder of the Steve Morgan Foundation, said: “ Through our Covid19 – Emergency Fund, we’ve now made well over 200 awards and each one has a story and people behind it. The Cotton Street Project really can change and save lives which is why we’ve supported them.”

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