Al’s Club was founded by Debbie and Jay O’Brien in 2013, their aim was to create a safe and friendly environment for their daughters and other young adults with learning disabilities or complex health needs in Knowsley, and also to promote independence and inclusion in a community setting and reduce isolation.

In 2018, Debbie teamed up with Andrea Evans to open Al’s Activity Respite Centre (ARC) in the heart of Prescot. Andrea has a son with autism and complex health needs and brings a wealth of knowledge in the business field. Through their shared mutual passion and experience, Debbie and Andrea provide a unique and bespoke day-care service for adults with complex disabilities and health needs.

In March 2020, Al’s ARC was temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the inspiring team began to offer a community support service to the vulnerable people of Knowsley. Under the name ‘Al’s Angels’, the service includes the collection and delivery of vital supplies, from prescriptions and everyday essentials to food parcels and clothes for those unable to leave their homes and who needed it most.

Debbie’s passion for serving the community comes from her own experience, she says: “I’ve been there, and I know how it feels.” Debbie herself is a member of Enterprise Credit Union and joined 15 years ago when she needed a helping hand. When we asked Debbie about Al’s Angels and the highlights of the past year, she said: “Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve been able to support 136 families and continue to do so. We were recently awarded a £10,000 community grant from Knowsley Council, which enables us to help so many more people!”

Despite the lingering uncertainty surrounding a ‘return to normal’ in 2021, we asked Debbie what she was looking forward to most in the future, she said: “We reopened Al’s ARC on the 1st April and will continue to support families and our community, and when it’s safe, we’ll be throwing a BIG party!”

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