Bootle entrepreneur who is making a difference for his hometown

A dad of three has made it his mission to give back to children in Liverpool.

James Winters was brought up in a working-class family in Bootle and trained to be an electrician at 21 after completing a YTS at Port Vale football club. Since then he has built up a successful business and opened the Phoenix Hotel in Kirkdale.

In 2016 James began working with the charity Big Trust which seeks to make a difference to the lives of young people and adults in Liverpool. James was inspired to help young people in Liverpool due to his own upbringing and believes now more than ever it is important to help the children of Liverpool.

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In conjunction with the Big Trust, he has now gone on to create the SMILE project in 2021 which works with five to 11-year-old’s at schools in low-income areas in Liverpool. Running asperation workshops and mental health awareness classes.

Speaking to the ECHO James said: “These kids live in such a small deprived bubble they don’t realise how big the world is and how many opportunities are out there.

“I have got children myself so I know first hand the struggles, worries and anxiety that children face. Whether it be mental health awareness, crisis support, or simple things like extracurricular and educational materials.

“We want to give them support if they are in a bad place and to give them the opportunity to elevate themselves. To show kids that there is not all bad in the world and that there is promise for them and hope and there is somebody there to support them hence the name SMILE.”

James now wants to get the SMILE project into every school in the Liverpool city area and recently ran a workshop at St Monica’s primary school in Bootle. Putting on a health and wellbeing day with Liverpool Football Club for over 500 pupils.

He said: “I feel a sense of accountability towards helping the greater good. I’ve worked hard for myself and my immediate family but I think if you can reach back and help others it can only bode well for people and society in general.”

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