Gautby Road Centre delivers nearly 2,500 kids’ meals during half-term

Gautby Road Play & Community Centre has provided over 2325 meals to children during the October half-term.

Gautby Road Play & Community Centre

Luke O’Dowd is the Centre Manager at Gautby Road and has been in the role for nearly eight years. He says, “I grew up through the playscheme from the age of six; I’ve never left! The response we’ve received has been phenomenal, we’ve never had so much support and we thank all those that have dropped off food items, donated cash, and taken time out of their own lives to support us.”

Luke (third left) and Melissa (third right) and the team at Gautby Road.

The centre has been providing free meals on-site for children for over 10 years. However, COVID-19 restrictions forced the centre to close, but Luke knew the need was always going to be there, so the team decided to take the meals to the children’s doorsteps.

Taking a delivery of donations from Aubergine Cafe.

“The families that receive daily deliveries from us are so appreciative and it makes what we do that extra bit special! We really enjoy seeing everyone at their doorsteps!”, he said.

Loading the second van of the day.

Aubergine Cafe owners Andrew and May Mahon made their daily delivery to Gautby Road and thanked their chefs Sean and Corrie who have been coming into work early at 7am each day to prepare the meals.

“We’re happy to report that Aubergine has provided 500 meals to children at risk of food poverty.”, Andrew said. May added, “Organisations with no connection to Aubergine reached out to provide food that we could use to prepare our lunches.” Some of the companies that supported Aubergine Cafe in supplying the lunches were Typhoo Tea, Homebaked (Anfield based bakers), and Honest to Goodness Coffee.

Gautby Road is a Play, Youth & Community Centre that is the heart of North Birkenhead. Luke told birkenhead.news, “It has a great reputation and has delivered fantastic work during the 30-plus years that it has been part the community. The staff work day and night to ensure provision in the North End is the best it can be and want to make sure that its residents get opportunities equal to others in other areas of Wirral.”

The wet weather didn’t dampen the spirits of the team!

Luke went on to say, “At the centre, we provide an array of activities and sessions. Our provision for children starts from six years old and we ensure there is inclusivity throughout. Our sessions open five days a week and include sports sessions, dance, reptile club (handling and educational sessions), media and photography, youth council, arts & crafts, and more.”

The Gautby Road team with May & Andrew Mahon from Aubergine Cafe.

The Gautby Road Centre is planning to open its doors again when restrictions are lifted. In the meantime, they have recently launched their Christmas Toy Appeal, asking for people to donate toys to children who may not receive one this year. “The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on many families, and they believe the need will be greater than ever.”, Luke said.

Centre manager Luke passing crates of lunches.

When the Gautby Road Play & Community Centre reopens, they will have many opportunities for new volunteers. For any further details or information, contact the centre on 0151 652 5645 or email Community Coordinator, Melissa Rose Every at [email protected]