Three become one in Birkenhead with £70k boost

Three community groups in Birkenhead have received nearly £70,000 in emergency funding to help them through Covid-19.

North Birkenhead Development Trust (£34,715); Gautby Road Play Youth & Community Centre (£27,526); and BEE Wirral (£7,285) have received the awards from Steve Morgan Foundation’s Covid-19 Emergency Fund.

The three organisations already work together on a joint initiative called ‘Cradle to Career’ which is aimed at improving the lives of young people over 15-20 years rather than being a short-term fix.

Eve Barrett is the manager of the North Birkenhead Development Trust, which runs a multi-purpose community centre called St James Centre, hosting everything from kids’ clubs, exercise classes, food banks, a community cafe and a nursery.

She said: “We have about 40,000 visits a year. North Birkenhead has a lot of challenges and the idea of ‘Cradle to Career’ is designed to support the community to come up with solutions. Cradle to Career is about giving power to the community to take control of their own lives and have a say. Early intervention is vital.

“When Covid-19 struck we almost had to close our front door at a time when we knew our services were badly needed. It resulted in a massive loss of income with the closure of our café and shop. We want to be here when this is all over. Every decision is about how do we survive but still look after our staff?

“We work with a lot of organisations, who work with different groups of people. Gautby Road work with mainly children and young people while BEE Wirral work with families. We complement each other.” 

In desperation she applied to the Steve Morgan Foundation for financial help and was awarded £34,715.

“It was such a relief and we’re so grateful,” said Eve. “North Birkenhead  Development Trust has been here for years supporting the community and we need to be here afterwards.”

North Birkenhead Development Trust and Gautby Road have joined forces with Neo Community to run the Wirral Emergency Food Hub alongside Wirral Council.

Eve said: “In the first three weeks we sent out 7,000 emergency food packs to individuals and families across Wirral at a time when they needed us.

“Although access to food is the priority, Covid-19 also has a significant impact on wellbeing and mental health.  People feel isolated and the help of the Steve Morgan Foundation is vital in helping charities support the most vulnerable members of society.”

Steve Morgan, founder of the Steve Morgan Foundation, said: “When I launched the Covid-19 Emergency Fund I was clear we couldn’t deliver the help to the vulnerable people directly but we could enable the charities on the ground to do that.

“North Birkenhead  Development Trust and the other charities in Birkenhead are really good examples of that in action.”

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