Children’s charity rescued from ‘black hole’

For more than 20 years Fun 4 Kidz has been keeping 1,000 children a week in Sefton, Liverpool, occupied to help their parents get back into work or access training.

The charity was set up in 1998 in Netherton but expanded over the years to include breakfast, holiday and after-school clubs.

Chief executive Debbie Stephens said: “We look after around 1,000 children a week aged between three and 12. We’re trying to help people back into work and access training. We also employ a number of people ourselves.”

They even took on the lease of the L30 Community Centre in Netherton  because it faced closure so that the community could run craft, yoga and photography clubs from there.

However Debbie said all their hard work was put at risk when Covid-19 struck.

“We don’t get any grant funding so Covid-19 meant all our income stopped,” she said. “We had to halt all our face-to-face sessions at Fun 4 Kidz and were in a financial black hole. It’s heart-breaking to see 22 years of hard work unravel in front of your eyes.

“We’ve always been a well-run organisation. We keep things affordable so don’t have large cash reserves.

“In desperation we applied to the Steve Morgan Foundation and were awarded £22,903, which has covered our costs for the next three months. Steve Morgan has kept us going.”

Debbie said the funding had given everyone in the charity a new lease of life.

“ It was a real blow when we had to stop groups at the centre.  We’ve managed to keep a physically distanced packed lunch service for children open and we ring about 40-50 of our regulars each week,” she said.

“We had a community Zoom meeting and members wanted to build community spirit. At Easter we delivered 700 eggs dressed as the Easter bunny. A local fitness instructor is running street fitness sessions across Netherton. Helping people keep emotionally and physically well right now is important.  We are encouraging neighbours to look after each other.

“For those who have been hit financially or are having to shelter from the virus we have a food bank and we pick up prescriptions for residents who need a bit of help. 

“When lots of people are working from home we’re still here, right in the middle of the community. We’re like one big family and I’m just very grateful that the Steve Morgan Foundation has helped keep us going during these difficult times.”

Steve Morgan, founder of the Steve Morgan Foundation, said: “Fun 4 Kidz is a charity which was a finalist in our Entrepreneur Awards some years back and we know that despite their entrepreneurial approach which has made them self-sustaining to date, they are now one of many charities that have faced financial problems through no fault of their own.

“It’s great that they’re still managing to help the people of Netherton through the L30 Community Centre.”

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