While the breakfast club for Salford's homeless people and ex-offenders has been open for a number of years in the back yard of the Salford Unemployed and Community Resource Centre in Eccles, it was gloomy, makeshift and ill-equipped.
However, this morning the former police garage was unveiled after a major refurbishment, funded by Mary Monson of Swinton-based Mary Monson Solicitors, and features a bright interior stocked with proper kitchen facilities, new tables and chairs, lighting and tasteful light blue walls. It wouldn't be out of place in Monton high street.
Mary Monson herself and Salford and Eccles MP Rebecca Long-Bailey cut the ribbon as Mary said the refurb was a "Thank you from me and my family for the great life that we've had in Salford."
Mary recalled her first law job in Salford at a firm of solicitors and her debut visit to court, where she asked her bosses why the accused weren't wearing suits... "It didn't take me long to realise that they were wearing all they had" she said, before adding that "The people were so wonderful – not the people I worked with, sadly; not the lawyers, not the police, not the prison officers...Salford Magistrates Court was a kangaroo court, and the Crescent police station was a hellhole where children were beaten up regularly..."
Staff from Mary's office also brought along food and clothing for the clients of Salford Unemployed and Community Resource Centre (SUCRC), while Rebecca Long-Bailey underlined why the need for the breakfast club and other community support was apparent for both the homeless and ex-offenders...
"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that there's a direct link between poverty and crime" she explained "With all the cuts we've seen to solicitors' services and all the cuts to funding that's available for rehabilitation once people come out of prison we're in very, very dark times and our communities need all the help they can possibly get."
Alec McFadden, manager at SUCRC, underlined the sentiments and made reference to the Centre's new £115,000 project to create the first surgery for dental and medical
care of ex-offenders and homeless people... "Poverty creates so many problems" he said.
For more details on the dental and medical project for ex-offenders and homeless people see previous Salford Star article – click here