Youths dig for charity

The Storehouse Project at Billinge Family Church:  Nolan Bradshaw and Sandra White
The Storehouse Project at Billinge Family Church: Nolan Bradshaw and Sandra White

A WIGAN project’s work with the homeless has been rewarded with a garden makeover.

Members of the youth charity Catch 22 carried out improvement works to the grounds of Billinge Family Church as a thank you to The Storehouse which is a group of volunteers based there who offer their services to helping the poor and homeless.

The project works alongside other borough organisations and aims to give homeless people independence in the community.

Run by volunteer Nolan Bradshaw, it delivers food parcels, clothes and other basic items to the needy.

Maria Folan, from Catch 22, said: “It was an enjoyable day and the young people felt a strong sense of achievement from doing the gardening as a way of saying thank you.”

Nolan, 63, said: “My vision is to build this up into a warehouse with salaried people and to make it more of a bigger business, at the moment we’re only a corner shop.

“I want to create a shopping experience for the people when they come in.”

The Stonehouse Project has speciality bags of essentials at the ready for specialist situations such as prisoners who have just been released or people who have to stay in hospital overnight.

Volunteer April Davies, 49, said: “I don’t give any clothes out that we wouldn’t wear ourselves. It is all top quality.

“It’s about respect. The people who come in may not have much money but they’re still human like us.”

Nolan said: “We began the project in 2008 where we just asked people to bring tins and food parcels into the church. Through word of mouth it just mushroomed and now we have companies donating things to us on a regular basis.

“Asda distribution centre in Goose Green and Magnesium furnishings have been brilliant. And they don’t ask for anything in return.

“They trust me and we’ve built up a good relationship. It’s very difficult to gain trust when you’re working with vulnerable people and we don’t want anything to jeopardise that.

“I believe we’re the only people who give it for free. This is what makes us unique.

“It’s the people who help us who have a heart for that we do.”

For more information visit www.storehouseproject.org.