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Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Mayor selects charities to support during year of office

A football team for adults with learning disabilities, a charity which helps families, and a hospital radio station will be supported by the Mayor of West Lancashire and her Consort.

Councillor Doreen Stephenson and her husband John are to raise money for Ormskirk Hospital Radio, Homestart Central Lancashire, and the Skem Men-Aces football team during their Mayoral year.

Fundraising events will be planned throughout the year, including a ‘Big Band Night’ organised for Friday 12 September at Ormskirk Civic Hall and a ‘Halloween Night,’ with an Elvis impersonator providing the entertainment, on Friday 31 October.

Councillor Doreen Stephenson, Mayor of West Lancashire, said: “I have chosen these charities as I wanted to support small deserving local charities that help West Lancashire people. I have heard a lot about the good work of these three very worthy causes and I am looking forward to working with them and the charity committee.” 

Homestart Central Lancashire supports families with children from newborn right up to 11 years of age. The families could be experiencing a range of difficulties from feeling isolated after the birth of a child, to a child having problems with homework.

Volunteers from Homestart work with families and provide a service tailored to meet the family’s needs. There are also four family support groups based in West Lancashire which work with small children and help them learn through play.

Carole Lee, manager of Homestart Central Lancashire, said: “We are delighted that the Mayor has selected us as one of the charities for this year. Any funds we receive will be a big help to us, but being a Mayor’s charity will also help raise our profile.

“We would put any money that we get towards recruiting new volunteers. Although we also cover areas such as Chorley all the money raised through the Mayor’s charities will be spent in West Lancashire.”

Ormskirk Hospital Radio plays requests, dedications and health promotion messages for patients and staff at the hospital 24 hours a day. Volunteers run the service and they hope to use the money to buy new equipment. They are also working with the Hospital Trust on plans to start broadcasting to Southport hospital.

Brian Conlan, programme controller, said: “We are really pleased that we have been selected to be one of the Mayor’s charities and it has come as a complete surprise to us. We are hoping to make the most of this year, not just in terms of raising funds but to also to promote the radio station to the community of West Lancashire. We want to let people know about us and if groups have events they want to publicise we are here to help them.”

The West Lancashire community has taken the Skem Men-Aces to their hearts since the team was formed in 2009. Local people helped raise funds for the Men-Aces to go to the Special Olympics in Bath in 2013, where they won a silver medal. But the team also helps other worthy causes. In June 2014 they played a 24-hour football marathon in aid of Aughton boy Ben Jones who suffers from Phelan McDermid Syndrome, which is similar to autism. Ben and his family are raising money for Kingsbury Special School, the Phelan McDermid Syndrome Foundation and a trust fund for Ben.

The Skem Men-Aces currently have about 40 members aged between 17 and 50. Locally their good work has been recognised with a number of accolades, with their manager Carl Eaton earning the Services to Disability Award at the 2013 Lancashire Sports Awards.

Carl said: “We are more than just a team, we are a big family and everyone loves being a part of the club. We are always overwhelmed by the support we receive from the local community. We are very proud to have been selected as one of the Mayor’s charities for the next year and we are 100 per cent behind the Mayor and her fundraising efforts. Any funds we receive will go towards helping to buy a minibus.”


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