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Article date - 15 April 2020
Kicking the campaign off with £25,000 from St Helens Council, the amount was match funded by Torus Foundation, the charitable arm of social housing partner Torus.
To date, more than £66,500 of the £80,000 target has been raised in less than a week after a number of generous contributions, including an incredible £10,000 donation from local businessman, Andrew Mikhail, owner of the Mikhail Hotel and Leisure Group.
Money raised will go directly to ensure emergency food and supplies are delivered to local people who cannot leave their home to shop, or afford to buy food due to the current crisis.
Councillor Baines said: “The community effort in recent weeks has been incredible. As part of that effort, our #StHelensTogether campaign is coordinating volunteers and support across the entire borough, making sure that our most vulnerable residents get the help they need.
“The food supplies are being topped up by St Helens Council, Torus Foundation, and other kind donations, and we’ve set up this crowdfunder to give the public the chance to help make sure we’ve got all the stock we need.
“From day one Andrew Mikhail has done all he can to support the St Helens community and key workers through this crisis. The work he’s doing in conjunction with Blackbrook rugby club and the Steve Prescott Foundation is brilliant. And now he’s making this fantastic donation to the crowdfunder. There are no words to say how grateful we are.
“Thank you Andrew, and thank you to everyone who is donating to the fund to support vulnerable residents. No matter how big or small an amount you can afford, every penny will go directly to those in need.”
Andrew Mikhail, whose restaurant, Eccleston Arms Bar & Grill on Prescot Road, is currently operating as an essential items hub for key workers and vulnerable residents, said:
“Along with The Steve Prescott Foundation and Blackbrook ARLFC we set up the Eccleston Arms essential Items initiative to first and foremost help the NHS, key workers, the elderly and extremely vulnerable who were struggling to purchase even the most basic of food items due to panic buying.
“We were ahead of our time and, as such, we have now been able to extend our service to every member of the community, such is the importance of encouraging people to stay at home.
“This project, led by St Helens Council is to provide assistance to the elderly and most vulnerable in our society. We just want to help in times of need. The donation of £10,000 is largely from the Mikhail Hotel & Leisure Group with £1,000 coming directly from the essential items shop thanks to the great tireless work of the Steve Prescott Foundation, Blackbrook ARLFC and my incredible staff.
“I firmly believe that once we have got through this nightmare our community will be stronger.”
Kate Shone, Managing Director at Torus Foundation, added:
“Torus Foundation is honoured to be part of this crucial initiative helping those who are vulnerable in our neighbourhoods. Our vision is ‘for stronger communities’ and #StHelensTogether is a perfect example of a community coming together to support and empower one another.”
Donations towards the #StHelensTogether campaign can be as little as £2 and can be made online by visiting www.spacehive.com/st-helens-together
Anyone in need of help can call 01744 676767 to find out more on what support is available.