Carol Shanahan is determined Port Vale will be a community hub for as long as needed during the coronavirus crisis.
Vale Park is becoming the centre of a coordinated effort to help the north of the city – whether using the kitchens to provide meals, helping schools and children, or supporting vulnerable people and workers who have lost their jobs.
Carol and her husband Kevin are pooling resources from Port Vale and the Synectics Solutions and Summit Hospitality businesses they also own. The Vale’s Foundation Trust and the Hubb Foundation, of which Carol is founder and a trustee, are also part of the combined effort.
She says she expects the next three weeks to be largely ‘reactive’ as they find out where help is needed most and tackle that.
That includes seeing what can be done to help schools who are remaining open for vulnerable children and the children of key workers.
They have been talking to schools, the city council, charities and churches and are also using their contacts and knowledge through the Vale Foundation Trust and Hubb Foundation charities.
Vale’s vice chair Kate Beardmore, head of community Tom Sherratt, chief operating officer Claire Halket and former Vale player Adam Yates, of the Hubb Foundation, are among those coordinating the operation.
Carol believes funding and grants will become available, but says the priority is to help people immediately.
She explained: “You have to think of the cost of not doing it.
“At this point it’s not about money. Kate has said all week, ‘don’t talk about the cost of this, let’s just get on and do it. Then we can sort out the cost’.
“That’s not being reckless. We have some funds we can get to and then hopefully by the time you have proven it there will be grants available. But for the moment it is who needs the help.
“There are all sorts of vulnerable kids in our city that really need support. We have always been driven to help them, that is just amplified now.”