The chairman of Woolton and Garston Group John Murphy, accompanied by group vice chairman Mike Cunliffe and group charity steward Gary Devlin, paid a visit to a registered charity based at St Gregory’s Youth and Community Initiative (SGY&CI) in Netherley.
The group was met by Project Manager Sharon Williams who informed the group that she currently had 650 people on her books and people were never turned away. John Murphy asked her what was desperately needed and Sharon told him that the charity needs ‘the high end’ commodities like tea, coffee, tinned meat such as Spam, corned beef or pies – sugar, milk (UHT or dried), tinned meat / fish, tinned vegetables, cereal, soup, pasta, rice, pasta sauce, tinned fruit, lentils, beans, mashed potato, biscuits, fruit juice, jam, toiletries and sanitary products.
Sharon works very closely with Ron Daniels from ‘Fans Supporting Foodbanks’, a charity set up some seven years as a joint venture between Spirit of Shankly and Everton’s Blue Union. They started out by collecting food items outside the grounds of Everton and Liverpool FCs. John Murphy and Ron had a long chat and it is likely that future ventures will be undertaken.
Sharon told the group that they look upon the charity as being the blood flow of the community, because whenever there is an issue or a problem, or a need, people know they can attend the centre and they will be supported instantly. Sharon said: “If a person comes in and says I’ve got no food in we will empty our fridge and hand it over. We are here to meet people’s needs and that’s why we set up the charity.”
Unfortunately, Netherley has an unemployment rate much higher than that of Liverpool and nearly twice that of the UK average.
Sharon said that the generosity of the Freemasons in presenting a cheque for £380, part from West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and part from donations from lodges and chapters within the group, will make life a little easier for many people in the region and will enable the charity to buy some of the things that do not get donated. “So, a very big heartfelt thank you”, said Sharon.
Story and pictures by Colin Roberts.