A campaign to help keep Bonsall Hall running post-pandemic has shown the value of community spirit in Liverpool.
The hall, which is based in West Derby, has been home to the West Derby pre-school for over 30 years. It has also housed the 19th Fairfield Beaver, Cubs & Scouts, as well as the 445th Liverpool Rainbows, Brownies, Guides and Rangers for over 40 years.
But after being told that St Paul’s church could not afford the structural repairs totalling over £40,000 the groups were left with uncertainty.
Nicola Durkin, who has run the West Derby pre-school alongside Carmel Murphy since 2008, said: “This is our business, our life, our everything, and we will fight all the way and do what we can to keep Bonsall Hall open.
“Bonsall Hall is not only a nursery, it’s much more. We understand it is an old building but it has too much history to just let it go, and the community will be absolutely devastated.”
Since the meeting where the bad news was revealed, things have started to look more optimistic for the community hub. After creating a Facebook group, a post documenting the story behind the repairs was shared over 100 times, and over 600 people have joined in just under a week.
Moreover, the group admins have found themselves the recipients of goodwill from the Liverpool community, with everything from raffles to sponsored skydives being arranged to help raise the money to keep the hall open. As well as this, a Crowdfunder for the campaign has raised over £3700 in a matter of days, 37% of its goal.
Ms Durkin adds: “The support we are getting from the community is so overwhelming. We are all just blown away, and can’t thank everyone enough.”
Rachel Davies, who remembers using Bonsall Hall when she was younger by attending discos and partaking in Guides, explains that she was saddened to hear the hall faced such financial uncertainty “so unexpectedly and suddenly.”
She added: “I’m sure I’m not the only one who believes this, but without Bonsall I wouldn’t have had the childhood I had. It’s a fantastic place, and I know that if I used social media I would be sharing this news to everyone.
“These places nurture younger people and help them flourish, and without them Liverpool wouldn’t be the city it is.”
MPs have been contacted regarding the campaign, and it’s now a waiting game for the campaign as to what happens.
What those involved do believe, however, is that the community will continue to come together for the cause, even if the pandemic has brought with it financial and mental hardships.