LIVERPOOL tourist attraction The Beatles Story has pledged to support the recently announced Strawberry Field project with sponsorship and job opportunities for its graduates. Together with attractions including The Beatles Story, Cavern Club, Hard Day’s Night Hotel and the Magical Mystery Tour, Strawberry Field will provide an important and significant contribution to Liverpool’s ‘Beatles Economy’, opening up for the first time a key site which is currently a drop-off location for significant numbers of Beatles tourists. The former Strawberry Field children’s home inspired John Lennon to compose the iconic Strawberry Fields Forever, having grown up a stone’s throw away at his Aunt Mimi’s house, and played in its grounds as a child. The Salvation Army, a church and charity, is focused on building on the unique legacy of Strawberry Field, to open it up to a new world of visitors who can find out why the site mattered to John Lennon, why the vision for its future matters, and why it should matter to them. The new Strawberry Field site will provide education, training, work experience and personal development for young people typically aged 18 to 25 who have learning disabilities. As well as the training hub, the revival of the site will include a new exhibition and a haven for spiritual exploration and reflection. Martin King of The Beatles Story at Liverpool’s Albert dock commented: “As Beatles enthusiasts, we’re obviously excited about Strawberry Field’s redevelopment. However it’s the social inclusion aspects of the project that make a special project even more special. It is very Liverpool, very Salvation Army and very Beatles. “We’re committed to supporting Strawberry Field and the youngsters that will undertake their training programme, and look forward to welcoming some of their graduates onto our team before too long.” The Salvation Army’s Major Drew McCombe explained the importance of the centre to young people with learning disabilities in Liverpool: “As a church and charity, our faith compels us to address social injustices. Our main aim at Strawberry Field is to help young people with learning disabilities become more independent through life-changing opportunities and meaningful work. “The Salvation Army’s research found that in the Merseyside area, only 16% of people aged over 18 with learning disabilities are known to providers such as charities and local authorities, and just 7% are in paid employment – the Strawberry Field project will address that issue. Local businesses such as The Beatles Story that also pledge their support will open up new opportunities in meaningful employment, which are crucial to our programme’s success.” The Salvation Army estimates that it will cost approximately £8 million for the vision for the new Strawberry Field to become a reality. While part of the fundraising will be carried out using existing methods, there is an additional need and an opportunity to raise these funds differently, and to engage with some brand new audiences for the first time. Major Drew added: “We hope that we can engage with some of the millions of Beatles and John Lennon fans globally, and inspire them to become part of the next phase of the Strawberry Field site, and contribute history in the making.” Further information about the project and how to support it, whether through donations, volunteering or by visiting the Strawberry Field online shop for exclusive gifts and memorabilia, can be found on the website www.strawberryfieldliverpool.com.