Mersey Youth Support Trust’s success at the 2022 Steve Morgan Awards will offer a post-Covid launchpad for the next generation of Merseyside entrepreneurs
When philanthropist Steve Morgan CBE pledged money to mark the 20th anniversary of his Steve Morgan Foundation (launched in 2001), Mersey Youth Support Trust (MYST) entered the competition with charities from Cheshire, Merseyside and North Wales to win a share of the £170,000 prize money.
MYST put forward their entry into the Best Entrepreneurial Charity or Social Enterprise to demonstrate their services, support and work to help improve life chances and improve community cohesion.
After a public vote was followed by two rounds of judging by trustees from the Steve Morgan Foundation, MYST was shortlisted with 5 other organisations. The success of their runner-up prize at the Awards & Conference will provide MYST with an invaluable opportunity to relaunch its profile and services after a difficult last few years due to Covid restrictions.
MYST was founded in 2011 with the aim of creating new entrepreneurial opportunities for young and disadvantaged individuals across Liverpool and Merseyside – essentially giving them the chance to achieve financial independence through enterprise. The first Business Hub based in Kirkdale, North Liverpool was opened in April 2012. The Hub is a unique place in which young people can come and test out their business idea from one of the 26 offices which are rented out at a heavily subsidised rate and whilst they are part of the Hub they receive full time support from our team of staff and volunteers.
MYST aims to support the advancement in life of young people by providing a high level of support and related activities which enable them to develop their skills and capabilities, encouraging them to participate in society in a mature and responsible way. MYST helps to change lives by providing a way out of long term unemployment through enterprise, essentially supporting individuals who want to start their own business as a way to become financially independent thus creating a stable, positive future for themselves and their families.
According to January 2022 figures, the area in which the hub is based is an area of North Liverpool that is highlighted as being in the top 1% most deprived areas in The Indices Of Deprivation – the area sees high levels of unemployment and over 40% of young people leave full time education with no formal qualifications. The above results in 66.2% being unemployed and 9.1% of these claimants are aged 16-24 which echoes our plight to support young unemployment and enterprise in general. In 2021 MYST was successful in keeping the Kirkdale Hub at 95-100% capacity even during the pandemic ensuring the survival of our start up businesses.
MYST, based in the former St Lawrence primary school in Westminster Road in Kirkdale, is managed by Kevin Lovelady, who has experience from working as an employee and freelance with blue chip corporations through to running his own small businesses in IT and hospitality.
Lovelady says “We believe that our tailored approach to each young person’s business idea is one of the key factors that ensures their success, especially in the long term. We have helped over 250 entrepreneurs create their own businesses out of which 95% are still in existence 2 years later and have been able to move on from MYST is bigger premises and take on staff – some of our MYST tenants have, since leaving us opened multiple businesses!”
MYST manager Kevin Lovelady filming a recent promotional video at the organisation’s Kirkdale base
Lovelady continues “MYST has worked hard over the years to create strong links and connect with residents, organisations and businesses within the local community so that we can provide our services to as many people as possible who may need our support. Since coming to Kirkdale, almost 10 years ago we have been regularly in touch with local housing organisations who have properties in the local area with tenants who are claiming benefits – they are able to refer people to us directly who may benefit from advice and support on returning to employment and entering self employment. Areas like Kirkdale do need organisations like MYST to essentially invest in the area and give those who are unemployed a way out, doing this will make the local area and the community a place that is safer for all.”