Plan Bee Works For Apex

A community coffee shop which forms part of a five-step programme aimed at supporting people to recover from difficult personal challenges is set to officially open its doors in St Helens – with thanks to the Steve Morgan Foundation.

The Apex Charitable Trust offers advice and guidance for people whose actions or behaviour has led to negative consequences for themselves and others, enabling them to make positive choices and turn their lives around. 

With thanks to grants from the Steve Morgan Foundation and other funders, the Plan Bee community coffee shop officially opened its doors in St Helens last Friday, continuing the positive impact of the charity since it was launched in 1965.

The coffee shop will give employment opportunities for people as well as securing income to be re-invested into the charity’s activities.

“As an organisation we want to improve lives and contribute to a safer community,” said Kim Hughes, CEO with the Apex Trust.

“We do this by providing employment opportunities for people with convictions, enabling them to reach their full potential – I believe everyone deserves a second chance.

“The introduction of the community coffee shop allows us to advance the services we offer, and all profits made will be re-invested into the charity enabling us to be financially sustainable in the future.”

Statistics from the Prison Reform Trust indicate that during 2018, nearly 59,000 people in England & Wales were sent to prison, the majority for non-violent offences.

Forty-four per cent of those people are likely to return to prison within a year, but if they are able to secure employment and/or training, there is a 50 per cent reduction in re-offending.

Leanne Corkery, Business Development Manager at Apex Trust said: “I strongly believe there are no bad people. 

“Sometimes life tests us and we are not all equipped to deal with these challenges and this can lead us to make poor choices and decisions. 

“Too much energy is spent on judging people instead of trying to understand them. 

“Plan Bee aims at bringing the best out of people helping them to turn their lives around reducing reoffending rates and leading to safer communities.”

The coffee shop is part of the five-step programme aimed at supporting people to overcome personal challenges, build confidence and secure paid employment. 

One of the many people to have benefitted from the Apex Trust’s work is Mary, who previously found herself convicted of GBH after finding out her husband was having an affair while she was heavily pregnant.

“This was my first and only offence and it has had a massive impact on my life,” she said.

“I am scared of going out and I have become paranoid of people recognising me in public. 

“I lost my job and my family as a result and, at one point I was so low I tried to end my life – Apex saved me! 

“I have accessed free training, I attend the women’s hub and have made lifelong friends.

“I understand that although what I did was very bad it doesn’t have to define me and I still deserve a future and happiness.”

As well as funding from the Steve Morgan Foundation, Apex Charitable Trust has also received support from other local funders and businesses such as Jennor Ltd, Signature Living, ESF, Hilden Foundation, Allen Lane Foundation, The Rank Foundation and LCVS. 

A team of volunteers has also been instrumental in the planning and set-up of the Plan Bee Coffee Shop.

Ashley Lewis, a trustee with the Steve Morgan Foundation, visited Plan Bee to officially hand over the cheque prior to the opening of the shop.

If you would like to make a donation to Apex Charitable Trust and support the valuable work they do please visit their local giving page: www.localgiving.org/apex-charitable-trust 

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