Wirral's oldest youth club has been going the extra mile to help disadvanaged people this winter, but now needs more support to move their plans forward.

Established in 1886, Shaftesbury Youth Club is the second oldest club of its kind in the UK. 

Similar to other small charities at this time, it has been badly affected by the Covid crisis and consequently the services it provides to the local community.

A new business strategy was required to ensure the club did not fold and following advice from the Lotteries organisation the club has begun to plan and trade differently.

The opening of a social supermarket in November has seen a big change in the use of the buildings.  This new community service has already been a big success. 

During the school holidays Shaftes undertook to store, allocate, pack and distribute 6,000 food parcels destined to 1,200 homes, as part of the free school meals project, now promoted by Machester United star Marcus Rashford.

Barry Eaton, Chair of Shaftesbury Youth Club, said, "I am immensely proud of the work carried out over the Christmas period by staff and volunteers alike in providing over 6,000 food hampers to deserving families in conjunction with local and national agencies.

"The club has been closed down because of the Covid lockdown and this work has been a good use of our facilities. 

"However, the closure has had a major effect on our ability to earn income and I am appealing to all past members of the Youth Club and our many "old" football players to make a donation to help to compensate for our lost income at this difficult time."

In it's efforts to support the community, the organisation has been ably assisted with over 20 volunteers, led by Michelle Naylor and also 'Feed Birkenhead', NEO and former MP Frank Field. 

The club also continues to provide food hampers to over 30 families on a weekly basis, financially supported by Wirral Council.

A project to refurbish their on-site allotment, which has been derelict for many years, is about a third complete. 

The intention is to supply the new social supermarket with fresh fruit and veg from the allotment and for the club members to be involved in planting and harvesting.

Wirral Globe: A project to bring the Shaftesbury Youth Club allotment back to life is underwayA project to bring the Shaftesbury Youth Club allotment back to life is underway  

They also grow large pumpkins for the youth club to use on Halloween night.

Shaftesbury JFC runs 20 football teams and recently signed a lease with the local authority to transfer their adjacent eight acres of Borough Road playing fields to the club. 

Already with higher levels of maintenance, five football pitches are now in operation compared to only one when managed by the council. 

This has been an extremely frustrating time for the football teams who have had many games cancelled due to a combination of lockdowns and bad weather.

The club needs to generate more revenue and discussions are on-going with the FA Football Foundation to provide a new all weather 11x11 football pitch. 

Substantial pledges of support have already been made by local businesses to help fund the scheme – a requirement of the FA.

Mr Eaton says that the club is always looking for volunteers, especially with budgets being cut and income affected by the Covid crisis. 

If you think you can help in any way, contact Janice Monty on 0151 608 7165.  The club also has a Golden Giving page for anyone wishing to make a donation during this difficult period.