Hat-trick of awards will help vulnerable people in Liverpool

Three organisations in Liverpool are celebrating after receiving more than £362,000 in grants from the Community Match Challenge Fund. 

TARGET Football, Liverpool Lighthouse and Nightstop Communities Northwest CIC are among 117 successful applications to the funded.

The Steve Morgan Foundation has been tasked with administering the £20m Community Match Challenge Fund and has so far allocated £19.7m.

The fund consists of £10m from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and £10m in match-funding by Steve Morgan.

The £10m from the DCMS came from a new £85m Community Match Challenge Fund and is part of the Government’s £750m support package for charities.

TARGET Football has been awarded £248,000 and say the money will be transformational. 

Launched in Toxteth in 2010 by Paul Hurford and Reg Standish it uses football to develop transferrable skills through employment, education and training.

The grant will be used to buy equipment and pay for the installation of three 3G pitches at its Stany Fields site. The 3G pitches constitute capital expenditure and are covered by the Steve Morgan Foundation portion of the grant. 

Paul said the improvements will revitalise a community asset and reduce problems of anti-social behaviour in the area. “We exist to improve and enhance the lives of people living in Toxteth and the surrounding areas,” he said.

“TARGET Football is pivotal to the recovery of the local community. The Covid-19 pandemic has unearthed community spirit and citizenship in our communities, we will play our role in harnessing this, working with our membership and local people to recover and rebuild.”

Liverpool Lighthouse is an arts community centre in Liverpool and has been awarded £68,600 by the Community Match Challenge Fund. 

It was established in 1998 in Anfield to reduce social isolation, increase community cohesion and help people develop skills and provide opportunities to engage with the arts.  

In normal times the group would work closely with around 750 people each year providing activities for young people, families, older people, refugees, migrants and asylum seekers.  

Liverpool Lighthouse typically attracts 15,000 visitors a year to high quality arts performances and shows as well as community celebrations and events.  

Following the £68,600 grant from the Community Match Challenge Fund they’re about to embark on two major programmes.  

The first provides food and support for families in crisis. Spokesperson Helen Brown said: “We currently provide food, toiletries and essential items to over 200 people each month who are struggling with financial crisis.  

“We want to address food poverty in more long-term ways so we will also be providing a ‘vegetable van’ providing free fresh fruit and vegetables to streets in some of the highest areas of deprivation in North Liverpool, video tutorials to help people learn how to cook with fresh food and hot meals delivered to the elderly and people with disabilities who are at risk for malnutrition.  

“In addition, we will continue to offer phone line support to signpost people to advice for issues round debt and employment. We also offer free professional counselling for those struggling with mental health.”  

The second programme will provide activities and one-to-one support for disadvantaged young people isolated by the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Helen said: “Studies show that young people’s mental health has been hit hardest by the crisis, so we are developing services to help young people struggling with mental health and to build mental health resilience in vulnerable young people. 

“The Community Match Challenge Fund will mean that we are able to continue these vital programmes until March 2022, providing us with the financial security that will mean we can focus on running the programmes instead of worrying about where the funding will come from.  

“It provides us the vital lifeline and capacity to employ dedicated staff instead of pulling staff from other programmes we run to fill gaps. With it, we will be able to expand the support we offer to benefit even more people.” 

Nightstop Communities Northwest CIC provides emergency accommodation for homeless youngsters and has been awarded £46,665 from the Community Match Challenge Fund. 

Based in Widnes it is part of Liverpool City Region and  helps vulnerable people and communities. 

NCNW offers a wide range of services including gender-specific ‘Ladies First’ and ‘Funda-MEN-tals’ support groups providing dedicated courses for vulnerable women/men aged 18 and above. 

They also deliver a Syrian Refugee Ladies Group focusing on breaking the language barrier, building their confidence and allowing them to feel safe and secure in an environment where they can better integrate into their local community.  

The group’s development manager Tracy Tilston said the £46,665 grant would help them respond to the increase in demand for mental health support linked to Covid-19. 

Users have spoken of feelings of loneliness, isolation, despair, anxiety, depression and rising stress levels. 

Tracy said: “The Community Match Challenge Fund grant that NCNW received allowed us to continue to employ mental health staff to provide the excellent, outstanding therapeutic services within the local communities in which we are established and based in.   

“It ensures that everyone can receive mental health support, when both them and the entire country is in need of it most, through the uncertain times that have been brought about from the pandemic.” 

Steve Morgan, founder of the Steve Morgan Foundation, said: “TARGET Football, Liverpool Lighthouse and Nightstop Communities Northwest CIC are three groups all committed to helping vulnerable people across Liverpool City Region.  

“A lot of their users are young people who have been particularly impacted by Covid-19, especially around mental health. That’s why these awards are so important.”

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