Lifeline £75,000 grant safeguards Liverpool children’s charity

A charity that has been working with children in one of the disadvantaged areas of Liverpool for more than 60 years has been handed ‘lifeline’ funding of £75,000.

Walton Youth & Community Project faced an uncertain future until the Steve Morgan Foundation stepped in to pay the salary of youth and community manager Darren Simpson for the next three years.

The Foundation’s director of regional grants Jane Harris presented a giant cheque to the North Liverpool charity on Tuesday.

Mr Simpson said, “It’s a huge relief. I’ve worked for the charity for 23 years and it’s getting harder and harder to raise money in the current climate.

“Without the Steve Morgan Foundation money we would have had no management leadership as my post would have gone. We’d probably have been closed within 12 months.

“The grant has taken a weight off everyone’s shoulders and means we can carry on our life-changing work in an area that is in the top 1 per cent of deprivation in the whole of the UK.”

Trevor Latham, chair of the Walton Youth & Community Project, said, “With huge challenges ahead this grant has come at a time when we needed security. We can now strengthen our offer to children, young people and the wider community over the coming years, without having to worry about finances.”

Jane Harris said, “Walton Youth & Community Project is deeply embedded in the local community and is a first port of call for many families when they need advice or crisis support.

“Darren was in post when the charity first received funding in 2013 and is a trusted local figure who oversees all service delivery.

“Darren’s heart and soul is in the project and his role is core to the ongoing operation. The grant will provide much-needed security.”

Walton Youth Centre was set up in 1960s but changed its name to Walton Youth Project in 1994 when it became a registered charity. It became Walton Youth & Community Project in 2012.

The project gives vulnerable and marginalised young people and the community access to high-quality provision with well trained, committed staff.

Services are targeted at diverting youth away from anti-social behaviour and crime, providing educational, social and welfare opportunities and support that they and their families would not otherwise access.

The charity works primarily with children and young people aged between eight and 19 and their families.

Mr Simpson explained, “We offer an evening youth club to divert children away from anti-social behaviour. We also work on the street and work with children who have been excluded from school. It’s all about improving opportunities and raising aspirations.

“Around 30 young people attend our twice-weekly youth club while we can work with around 100 children and young people on the street every week. We also feed 25 local families with surplus food that we collect.

“We also run holiday clubs and residential programmes that make such a difference to young people’s lives.”

The £75,000 grant will allow the project to seek further funding as part of its five-year strategy.

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