A LIVERPOOL not-for- profit organisation is proving a safe haven for charities and groups who have seen their funding slashed during the downturn.
The Gateway Conference Centre opened in London Road 10 years ago and provides conferencing and training facilities.
It is on target for a turnover of £400,000 generated from commercial deals with a range of clients such as universities, Alder Hey, the BBC and charities like Mencap.
But its prime purpose is to provide help for local charities and organisations involved in assisting disabled people.
Many of these have seen their funding shrink as individual donors rein in spending and council grants disappear in local government cuts.
But Gateway’s independence as a self-sufficient successful commercial venture, completely free of grants, means it can take up some of the slack.
Nigel Byrne, who has been Gateway’s centre manager since day one, said: “Once we have covered our costs, we can offer discounts of up to 100% for other charities and disabled groups to use our services.
“Last year, we supported 125 local organisations.”
And, over the past 10 years, the Gateway has provided services to more than 175,000 individual visitors.
Mr Byrne said: “Based on user questionnaires, we know that approximately 25% of our centre users tell us they have a long-term health problem or disability.
“Therefore, we can estimate that we have provided services to 43,750 local disabled and disadvantaged adults since opening in July, 2002.”
The centre opened as part of a commercial and residential scheme by Liverpool developer City Life Investments.