Call for cash for new community project

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Al’s Arc and Community Hub in Prescot occupies an old NatWest building. Pic © Demi Williams JMU Journalism

A local club for young adults with disabilities is fundraising for its new hub in Prescot.

Al’s Arc and Community Hub is a social club for young adults with learning disabilities to engage in activities in a safe environment.

The club currently has hubs based in the Knowsley Leisure and Culture Park in Huyton and Mosscroft Community Centre.  The community club is part of the Knowsley Better Together project, which helps get initiatives started by offering funding to organisations that benefit local residents.

Al’s is currently raising money for new installations and equipment to be added to its new Prescot hub located on Eccleston Street.

Debbie Lynch O’Brien, Founder and Manager of Al’s Arc and Community Hub, set up the club in memory of her dad, and for her daughters who both have disabilities.

She told JMU Journalism: “Our aim for the hub is to empower and provide choices for anyone who has a learning disability or complex needs and promote inclusion in a community setting.

“The community hub will have other unique services available for everyone to utilise. Act for Action will be providing an independent living service which will enable anyone with a disability to engage in activities.”

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Al’s has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money, with Debbie’s husband, James O’Brien, planning a sponsored walk up Snowdonia. Knowsley Council has already provided funding for rent and sensory equipment as part of the project.

Debbie, a 47-year-old from Liverpool, said: “The Better Together Fund has helped massively in many ways and the support we get is amazing. We’re able to purchase specialised flooring that meets all safety standards and buy stuff to get us started.”

Plans for the new hub, which used to be an old NatWest building, include music therapy, a mini gym and therapy area, cookery sessions, a sensory room and a learning zone with visiting tutors.

Al’s Activity and Respite Centre, which is currently under construction, is due to open at the end of October, but is still in need of funds to be able to open its doors.

About Demi Williams, JMU Journalism