A woman who has led a successful campaign against male suicide has been recognised for her immense efforts at the 2023 Pride Of Sefton Awards.
Debbie Rogers founded Sean’s Place in Bootle in 2020 following the tragic loss of her brother Sean to suicide the year before.
She was given huge applause as she won the Community Impact Award, sponsored by Forth Homes.
Sean’s Place Debbie Rogers said:
“It was an honour to win one of the first Pride of Sefton Awards!
“We don’t do what we do for awards but it’s an amazing privilege to take this back to our members as a tribute to their bravery to walk through our doors and begin their journey to accessing help.
“It’s also for our wonderful team of volunteers to celebrate their kindness as they give their time to help improve the lives of others.
“We couldn’t do this without them.”
Debbie was determined to make a difference after losing her brother, Sean, in 2019.
She desperately tried to find help for him but there was nothing available in the community at that time. Tragically, he felt he had no option but to end his life.
In 2020 despite battling inquests and dealing with her grief Debbie began to build a sanctuary for men in the community where they could find a sense of belonging and have hope again for the future.
In just three years she has provided support to over 2,500 men with an average of 160 men attending Sean’s Place every single week.
Debbie has built partnerships with other organisations and has won the backing of the local NHS Trust which has commissioned her service for three years to support men back into the community.
Debbie doesn’t take no for an answer and believes in every single person she supports.
Sean’s Place has contributed nationally to mental health research to prevent people turning to suicide around the country.
A Finalist in the Community Impact category was Jonathan Cunningham, who not only runs two care homes in Southport, working tirelessly to entertain and enrich the lives of the residents.
He also volunteers in his spare time as a Community First Responder and delivers first aid sessions to local Cubs, Scouts and other voluntary groups completely free of charge.
The second finalist was Sefton Baby Baskets, which began in 2020 in Crosby when friends appealed for baby clothes for their friend who worked at the local hospital.
They gathered so many clothes they filled a church hall and then spent weeks distributing them to refugees, asylum centres, health visitors, community centres and the hospital, among many other places.
The Pride Of Sefton Awards were organised by Mikhail Hotel and Leisure Group and by Stand Up For Southport, with support from In Demand Radio.
VIP guests included Mayor of Sefton Cllr Clare Carragher and Deputy Lieutenant of Merseyside Julie Lawson, while the night was hosted by In Demand Radio presenter Claire Simmo and TV presenter Fraser Dainton.
Entertainment was provided by Kelly Bond and Soul Jam.
Money was raised for the Steve Prescott Foundation and the ICU Steps charity, a cause close to Mikhail Hotel and Leisure Group Chairman Andrew Mikhail after his long battle in intensive care in hospital against Covid-19 during the pandemic.
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